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Cornell University 

The original of tiiis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 






VOL. Ill 






FOURTH PERIOD, 1854—1884 




The New Bible House — The Building Fund — The Continental 

Agents — The Glamour of Science . .... i-io 



Colportage at Home — The First Biblewoman — Death of Mrs 
Ranyard — The Cotton Famine — " Free Contributions " — 
Glimpses of Three Continents . 11-23 



Old Bible Worthies — The Growth of Versions — Secretarial 

Changes — A Notable Year 24-31 



The Newcastle Auxiliary — Chester Lead Works — "The Three 
Counties " — The Drift of Population — A Great Welsh 
Secretary . . .... 32-42 





The Shipping on the Thames — The Fateful Minute-hand — The 
Division of Wales— Old Servants and New — Continental 
Tours — Progress in the Principality — Veteran Colporteurs . 43-57 



In Memory of Tindale — Cleopatra's Needle — Vulgate Versions 
— Hugh Stowell — Josiah Forster — George Moore — Old Bible 
Families — The Mission-child of St Erth — By the Grey Rock- 
ing-stone ... . . ... 58-73 



Death of the I'irst Agents — The American War .... 74-78 



Death of Mr Eisner — Hope in the Masses — Driven to Secession 
— The Archbishop's Imprimatur — Fruits of Crimean Work — 
The Bible in Naples — " The Power of the Keys " — Concessions 
in Austria — Progress in Germany — Care for the Blind — The 
Victory of Sadowa — Pius IX. by Candle-light .... 79-103 



The French Colporteurs — An Official Recognition — French Bible 
Societies — Incidents in Paris — Eine Feste Burg — At Sedan 
— Colporteurs Decorated — Death of the Paris Agent — End of 
the Temporal Power 104-121 



A Bible Meeting in Rome— Mischievous Free Distribution— From 

Sea to Sea— The New Pope— Hopes Unfulfilled . . . 122-132 



A Critical Interval— An Evangelical Movement— Veterans of the 

Staff- Abroad with the Colporteur— Mischievous Zeal— The 
Undertaker's Bible 




The Currents of Conflict — Bible-loving Paladins — Delitzsch's 
Hebrew Testament — Jubilee of the Agency — Issues and 
Expenditure — The Wartburg and Erfurt— The St Gothard 
Tunnel— The Work of Sixty Years 146-161 



Running the Blockade— The Church and the Law— A Candid 
Archbishop — The Irony of the Golden Rose — Mr Corfield's 
Agency — Basque and Catalan — The Forces of Reaction — 
Protestant Funerals — Gibraltar Auxiliary — Revolt of Press 
and Stage— " A Work of the Devil"— The Atlantic Islands- 
Ventura the Guitar-maker . ... . . 162-187 



Peculiarity of Licences — A Japanese Inquirer — Austrian Arctic 
Expedition — The Bohemian Churches — Strange Helpers — 
Among the Polish Jews — "Show us your Christians!" — The 
Nazarenes — The Russo-Turkish War — Cost of the War Issues 
— Priestly Domination — Veterans 188-21 1 





European Turkey — Syria and Palestine — Turkish Breach of Faith 
— The Bulgarian Bible — Formation of Roumania — Northern 
Albania — Tosk and Gheg — A Brigand's Talisman — The 
Osmanli Version — A Strange Imprint^ — The New Bulgaria — 
The Old Ionic Coast— The Isles of Greece— The Outlook in 
Greece— Stand of the Holy Synod — Issues of the Agency . 212-243 



Scriptures in Maltese — Tunis and Algiers — A New Agency formed 
— The Agency of Morocco — Among the Maronites — A Jesuit 
Version — The Syrian Schools — Bethlehem and Nazareth — 
New Life in the Nile Valley — The Arabi Rising — The 
American Mission 244-265 



Eagerness for Scriptures in Abyssinia — Theodore's Outbreak — A 
Royal Bibleman — Daysof Persecution— A Woeful Kingdom — 
Krapfs Dream of the Future — An Ideal Workman - Bishop 
— Bishop Steere's Grave — The Uganda Mission . . . 266-284 



Roman Catholic Versions— Strange Use of the Gospels — Survivals 
of the Reformation — A Curious Coincidence — A Troubled 
Time — The Religious Orders . .... 285-297 



The "Bible School" Movement — The Lighted Window of 
Rotterdam — After Quarter of a Century — Death of Mr Van 
der Bom — Colportage Scenes — Count John of Nassau — 
Aggregate Distribution 298-311 





The Royal Orphan House— The Bible in Chains— An Amazing 

Royalty— Progress of the Work— Icelandic Revision . . 312-322 



Revival in Tromso— Range of the Colporteur— Some Old Friends 
— Other Bible Worthies— Developments in Sweden — Distribu- 
tion and Population — Withdrawal from Sweden— The Society's 
Expenditure . . ... 323-33a 



The Bible slowly yielded — A Russian Bible Society — First Steps 
in Siberia — Efforts in the South — The Volga and the Kama 
— Work begun at Irkutsk — A Russ Bible sanctioned — A Depot 
in Central Asia — A Remarkable Translator — Persia and the 
Caucasus — The Peacock - Worshippers — Bokhara and 
Samarkand ... . . . . 340-364. 



The Harps on the Willows — For Christ's Sake . . . 365-369 



Doubts and Difficulties — Destruction of Scriptures — The Men who 
saved India — Christian Rule at last — A Cry of the Native 
Heart — Projected Agencies — Colonel Roxburgh's Fund — A 
White - robed Multitude — The Uriya Versions — A Great 
Baptist Scholar— Request for an Agent . . . 370-392 





•" Unharmed by Fire or Water" — The Panjab Auxiliary — Difficulties 
of Translation — Progress in the Panjab — The Bombay Versions 
— The Resource of Prayer — Not without Fruit . 393-4o8 



The Madras Jubilee — Depots and Colportage — The "Union" 
Tamil Bible — The Syro-Chaldaic Christians — Dakhani and Koi 
— The Colombo Auxiliary — The Worship of Iswara — Bible- 
women in the East .... .... 409-425 



Version Work in Burma — Keasberry at Singapore — The Island 

Tongues — Expansion in Malaysia . . ... 426-433 



Some of the Great Names — The Turning-point — Arrival of the 
First Agent— Selling versus Giving— With Griffith John— New 
Versions — Development of Colportage — Dread of Christian 
Sorcery — Division into Agencies — How Books travel — The 
Colloquial Versions . 434-456 



Christianity proscribed — The Modern Pioneers — The First Japanese 
Church— A Seeker after God — Japanese Version Work — A 
Bible Dep&t opened — Division of Labour — " Friends of the 
Bible" ... 457-473 

Index .... . .... 475-486 


The Bible House, Queen Victoria Street 
The Bible House, the Entrance 
The Bible House, Entrance Hall 
The Rev. S. B. Bergne 
The Rev. Charles Jackson 
Mrs Ranyard 
Dr F. Delitzsch 
Bishop Steere 

To face p. 48 

FOURTH PERIOD, 1854—1884 



With the Jubilee of the Society the England of the 
Hanoverian kings may be said to have vanished com- 
pletely into history. The thirty years which form the 
fourth period of our narrative were pure Victorian. It 
was not simply a difference in name but in the social and 
industrial life of the nation. The results of invention and 
free commerce were seen in miles of new streets eating up 
old fields and orchards ; in countless work-shops, mills, 
and factories ; in mines and collieries ; in ship-yards, docks, 
busy wharves, Atlantic liners, steamships bound for the 
Antipodes and the Far East. In 1875 the booking of 
600,000,000 railway passengers in the United Kingdom 
showed how completely the uneventful days of isolated 
communities had passed away. Despite an immense 
emigration, the Census registered an increase of 8,000,000 
of people between 1851 and 1881. 

The effect of these changes was broadened and deepened 
by the influence of the Press and the Platform, the Franchise 
of 1867, and the Education Act of 1870. The impulses of a 
new time throbbed into the life of the Churches. While 
aggressive criticism and daring speculation assailed the 
very basis of religion, revivals intensified the fervour of 
belief, denominational schemes, organisations, places of 
worship were multiplied, and numberless philanthropic 



institutions — homes, asylums, refuges, brigades, schools — 
were founded in all parts of the country. Between 1871 
and 1877 nearly ;^7,ooo,ooo of money was subscribed for 
missions alone. 

These, briefly suggested here but curiously complicated 
in actual experience, were the conditions to which the Society 
had now to adapt its methods of operation at home. More 
largely than is generally recognised, it had prepared the 
way for the growing activities of the Churches, and these 
very activities, while they often tended towards denomina- 
tional divisions, made it increasingly more difficult for the 
Society to secure the financial support required for its 
world-wide mission. 

Stirred by the enthusiasm of the Jubilee celebrations, 
the Committee entered on the work of the second half 
century with prayerful confidence and with ampler means 
than had ever before been at their disposal. Expansion 
was a necessity of the time, and not only in one but in 
every direction. Before the fourth period closed Christian 
hymns floated over the inland seas of Central Africa ; the 
"savages" of Tierra del Fuego had learned to read the 
Gospel in their own language ; for the Tukudh Indians 
on the edge of the Arctic Circle the New Testament was 
passing through the press ; and Japanese converts com- 
memorated in Osaka the fourth centenary of the birth of 

Before describing the work at home which enabled the 
Society to maintain its work abroad, we shall briefly record 
one or two matters of general interest. 

In 1866 the first stone of the new Bible House was laid. 
Two years earlier the Committee had received notice from 
the Metropolitan Board of Works that a spacious thorough- 
fare from Blackfriars Bridge to the Mansion House would 
sweep over the site of 10 Earl Street.^ The claim for com- 

^ See diagram, vol> i. p. 484. 


pensation had been adjusted, and steps were taken for the 
purchase of a plot of freehold land on the line of the new 
route.^ At a private meeting of friends, held at the Mansion 
House on the i8th January 1865, with the Lord Mayor 
(Warren Stormes Hale) in the chair, it was resolved to 
raise a special Building Fund, so that no portion of the 
ordinary income should be withdrawn from the ordinary 
work ; a subscription list was headed by John Bockett, the 
Treasurer, and George Moore, the well-known philanthropist, 
with ;£^500 each ; and an appeal for ;£^30,ooo was issued to the 

By November the site of 146 Queen Victoria Street had 
been cleared, and the Reporter for that month contained a 
sketch of the new premises, designed by Mr Edward I'Anson.^ 
It was nqt until April 1866, however, that the contractors 
began building, and by that time an advance in wages and 
cost of material added considerably to the original estimate 
of expenses. 

On the nth June the Prince of Wales laid the foundation 
stone of the Society's new home. Brilliant sunshine beat on 
the great awning spread over the amphitheatre which had 
been erected for the accommodation of 2000 people ; and 
a profusion of flags and flowers gave a radiant colour to 
the scene.^ By half-past eleven o'clock the enclosure was 
filled throughout, and crowds of spectators were massed 
along the roadway. Shortly after noon had struck, the 
Prince, attended by General Knollys and Lieut.-Colonel 
Keppel, appeared on the platform, but alas ! there was no 
Princess. In the three years which had elapsed since 
Tennyson's Welcome rang through Britain, Alexandra had 
indeed become " the land's desire," and the one circumstance 

1 The old premises were taken by the Board, under an award, at ^^^l 7,500. The 
new site comprising 7,400 square feet, cost ;^24,ooo. 

^ Mr I' Anson, who had been educated at Merchant Taylors' School and the 
College of Henri Quatre, Paris, was the architect of the Royal Exchange Buildings. 

3 The authorities of the parish heartily co-operated with the Committee, and 
provided of their own good-will a large portion of the decorations. 


which detracted from the gladness and interest of the cere- 
mony was the absence of her Royal Highness. Noticeable 
among the distinguished company were the Archbishop of 
York (Dr Thomson), the Earl of Shaftesbury, the Bishop of 
Winchester (Dr C. R. Sumner), the Bishop of Carlisle (Dr 
Waldegrave), Lord C. Russell, the Rev. Lord Wriothesley 
Russell, Dean Stanley, the Danish Minister, General Biilow, 
the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs of London, Sir C. Trevelyan, 
the Hon. A. Kinnaird, and several members of Parliament. 

When the looth Psalm had been sung and select passages 
of Scripture had been read by the Rev. Dr T. Binney, the 
Rev. S. B. Bergne, one of the Secretaries, read an address 
to his Royal Highness briefly recounting the history, the 
work, and the projects of the Society. The President then 
formally requested his Royal Highness to undertake his 
solemn duty, and the Prince, having placed in a cavity 
prepared for them a small Bible, a copy of the last Annual 
Report, an inscription written on parchment, a copy of the 
Times, and several current coins of the realm, duly laid the 
heavy block of granite which bore the following legend : — 


Founded a.d. 1804. 

This Stone was laid June 11, 1866, by his Royal Highness 
Albert Edward, Prince of Wales. 

Ed. PAnson, Architect. Shaftesbury, President. 

Rider &; Son, Builders. John Bockett, Treasurer. 

C. Jackson, . ^ 

S. B. Bergne, ^'^^^'■^^^"^^ 


"Thy Word is Truth," John xvii. 17. 

In the course of a gracious acknowledgment of the 
address his Royal Highness said : — 

" I have an hereditary claim to be here upon this occasion. My grand- 
father the Duke of Kent, as you have reminded me, warmly advocated the 


claims of this Society ; and it is gratifying to me to reflect that the two 
modern versions of the Scriptures most widely circulated — the German and 
the English — were both, in their origin, connected with my family. The 
translation of Martin Luther was executed under the protection of the 
Elector of Saxony, the collateral ancestor of my lamented father ; whilst 
that of Tindale, the foundation of the present authorised English version, 
was introduced with the sanction of that royal predecessor of my mother 
the Queen, who first desired that the Bible 'should have free course 
through all Christendom, but especially in his own realm.' " 

The Archbishop of York invoked the divine blessing on 
the undertaking and the work of the Society ; and the Bishop 
of Winchester, one of its oldest living members, having 
thanked his Royal Highness, two verses of the National 
Anthem were sung, and his Grace pronounced the bene- 
diction. The Prince and the principal visitors, with the 
Committee and the Secretaries, were afterwards entertained 
at the Mansion House by the Lord Mayor, Sir Benjamin 
Samuel Phillips.i He had manifested the most cordial 
interest and imparted a becoming dignity to the day's 
procedure, and in recognition of his kindly services his 
lordship was presented with a copy of the Holy Scriptures 
as a memorial of the auspicious event. 

The Building Fund made less rapid progress than was 
hoped. Contributions of ;^ioo were presented by her 
Majesty Queen Victoria, the Prince of Wales, and King 
William of Prussia; but 1866 was a calamitous year, in 
which bank failures and commercial disasters were succeeded 
by virulent cholera, cattle-plague, colliery explosions, and 
widespread distress amongst artisans during the severe 
winter. In March 1867 the amount subscribed was ;^28,668; 
about ;^i8,ooo more was required, and a second appeal was 
issued. Notwithstanding the unfavourable circumstances, a 
lively interest was taken in the fund by the children through- 
out the country. The Rev. J. A. Page organised a scheme 
for raising ;^icoo among the young people of his Yorkshire 

' Sir Benjamin Phillips was the second Jewish Lord Mayor of London, 


district, and a similar project was set on foot among the 
Sunday schools of the Principality by Dr Phillips, to whom 
the Welsh school children in the United States, which he 
had recently visited, transmitted over ^100. It was after- 
wards estimated that of the ;^6i,ooo which the site and 
structure cost, one-twentieth part was defrayed by the gifts 
and collections of the small people. 

Early in 1868 temporary offices were taken at 12 New 
Bridge Street, Blackfriars ; and on the 5th February an 
affecting farewell service, attended by nearly every member 
of the Committee, the Secretaries and the staff, repre- 
sentatives of many missionary societies, and other friends, 
was held in the old home in Earl Street. It was a day of 
many reminiscences. Looking back to his early manhood, 
the aged Josiah Forster recalled the founding of the Society 
itself; he could trace the whole course of its history through 
sixty-four years. With prayer and praise they lingered over 
the recollection of work done and comrades departed, be- 
sought a continuance of the divine blessing, and then took 
their last look at the rooms which had been endeared by so 
many happy associations and hallowed by the presence of so 
many saintly men. 

In the course of the year another link with the past was 
broken. After a brief but painful illness, the Rev. George 
Browne died peacefully at Weston-super-Mare, at the age 
of seventy-nine. Succeeding Joseph Hughes in 1834, he 
served as Secretary down to 1854, but it was not until the 
publication of his History of the Bible Society in 1859 that 
his official connection with the Society closed, and he was 
then enrolled among the Honorary Life Governors. 

The new Bible House was finished in the spring of 
1869. With the exception of a few hundred pounds the 
entire cost had already been covered by the special fund ; 
and amid the many dangers inseparable from the work no 
life had been lost, and there had been scarcely a case of 


serious personal injury.^ In commemoration of the happy 
event, Archbishop Tait, who had just succeeded Dr 
Longley in the primacy, preached from Ephesians vi. 17, 
in St Paul's Cathedral on the 3rd May. On the 4th the 
Earl of Shaftesbury presided at an inaugural service in 
the House itself. 

With its massive courses of granite in the outer walls, 
its airy halls within, its spacious staircase, its columns and 
balustrades and panelling of bright-coloured marble, it was 
a noble edifice ; and there were not wanting those who 
looked on it with the grudging spirit which prompted the 
old question in Bethany, "To what purpose is this waste?" 
It may have been that in choosing i Chronicles xxix. 6-21 
as the Scripture portion with which the service opened, the 
Secretaries made the only reply to such criticisms that 
seemed to them becoming, but Dr Binney dealt freely with 
the objection. The expense, he pointed out, did not come 
out of the income of the Society. It had been borne by 
friends who gave for this purpose, distinct from and in 
addition to their ordinary contributions. The house was a 
house for God ; and though the plainest upper room might 
be a church, among a great people there should be some 
correspondence between their character and circumstances 
and the buildings which they erected for His service. 

The Committee had followed the precedent of the Jubilee 
and invited their Continental Agents to take part in the 
celebration. Accordingly a group of zealous and gifted 
labourers appeared on the platform at the anniversary meet- 
ing on the 5th — M. de Pressense, for thirty-six years chief 
of the Paris Agency ; Mr E. Millard, who had been driven 
from Vienna in 1852, but was now controlling the Society's 
work in nearly every city in the Austrian Empire ; the Rev. 
G. Palmer Davies, superintendent of the Frankfort and 

' A copy of the Bible was presented by the Committee to each of the workmen 
who had been employed for any length of time on the building. 


Cologne districts ; the Rev. Dr Simon of Berlin ; Mr 
Thomas Humble Bruce, agent for Italy ; and Mr W. H. 
Kirkpatrick, Mr Van der Bom, and the Rev. J. Plenge, 
the representatives of Belgium, Holland, and Denmark. 
The unknown names tell of change, of expansion, of at 
least one great pioneer whose day's work was done : but of 
these things we shall speak later. 

Two distinguished missionary figures appeared on the 
platform at the anniversary meeting of 1871, and "Well 
done!" and "God speed!" was the greeting they had to 
deliver. Nearly twenty years had gone by since Dr Duff, 
the devoted Scottish evangelist, last spoke in Exeter Hall 
on behalf of the Society, but the story of his noble work in 
India was not unknown to his hearers.^ Dr Moffat had but 
just returned finally from Bechuanaland. It was over thirty 
years since he held his audience spellbound as he told of 
the immeasurable distances of the veldt, and of the little 
cloud of dust, which was sheep being driven a hundred miles 
in exchange for a Gospel. It was still a story of seeking 
which he had to tell. There was yet another speaker whose 
presence at that gathering was hailed with interest and 
delight by all true friends of the cause. On his elevation 
to the united sees of Gloucester and Bristol in 1863, Dr 
Ellicott was appointed a Vice-President. For three years 
his name appeared in the list ; in the fourth it was with- 
drawn at his request. The Society, as he said afterwards, 
seemed to him to be too inclusive, and he had doubts as to 
the breadth and nature of the co-operation which united its 
members. His experience, however, as one of the eminent 
scholars of various denominations called upon to take part 
in the revision of the Authorised Version dissipated his 
difficulties and misgivings, and he felt it his duty to re- 
consider his whole position with regard to the Society. 

' Dr Duff, who was appointed a Vice-President in 1871, died at Edinburgh in 
J878, at the age of seventy-two. 


" After that decision my first visit was to your noble building, the 
Bible Society's House. I went up into the spacious library; I looked 
round it ; I surveyed its various treasures, and I felt that, after the 
responsible step I had taken, it was hard indeed that I should be a 
stranger there. I said as much to those around, and kind and friendly 
men in their goodness met me with sympathy, arranged that I should 
be no longer a stranger, that I should be a friend : and I, who formerly 
felt difficulties in reference to the inclusiveness of the Society and its 
breadth of co-operation, having myself by the teaching of experience — 
the best of teaching — seen that God's Word indeed is a blessed bond of 
unity, am now here, nothing doubting.'' 

He spoke again at the next anniversary, repudiating the 

spirit of sacerdotalism which would arrogate to "the Church " 

the prerogative of circulating the Scriptures, and rebuking 

the ' ' high ofBce-bearer in the Church of England " who had 

reiterated the uncharitable and ungrounded charge that "the 

Bible Society encouraged schism — that it existed by schism, 

and that if there were not schism the Bible Society would at 

once cease to exist." ^ From that time to the present the 

Society has had no friend more staunch, no counsellor more 

highly valued, than the Bishop of Gloucester. 

Strange years of excitement and perturbation were these 

early seventies. Young and generous spirits were carried 

away by the elation of intellectual conquest. The brilliant 

discoveries and illimitable speculations of science seemed to 

be raising the veil from the mysteries of the universe. A 

sense of freedom from — 

" the meagre, stale, forbidding ways 
Of custom, law, and statute " 

thrilled the new generation with something of the rapturous 
expectancy of the French Revolution, "as it appeared to 
enthusiasts at its commencement." The Descent of Man was 
published in 187 1 ; the Belfast Address was delivered in 
1874. Science had traced the genesis of man to a little 
leathery sack in the ooze of primordial seas ; his destiny 
science had likened to the melting of "streaks of morning 

^ Reasons for Declining to join the Bible Society. 

lo VICTORIAN ENGLAND [1854-1884] 

cloud into the infinite azure of the past." What did it matter, 
if it were truth? To follow truth in scorn of consequence 
became the gospel of an idealistic materialism. "We live 
in an age," said Disraeli, "when young men prattle about 
protoplasm, and when young ladies in gilded saloons uncon- 
sciously talk atheism."^ On the publication of Essays and 
Reviews both Lord Shaftesbury and the Bishop of London 
(Dr Tait) had appealed to the clergy not to waste words in 
controversy but "to put forth the simple Word of God." In 
this spirit the Society proceeded in 1863 to publish the Bible 
at 6d. and the New Testament at 2d. as the surest safeguard 
against doubt and unbelief. 

^ Debate on the Irish University Bill, nth March 1873. 



We now turn to the great Auxiliary system which was the 
mainspring of the Society's operations throughout the world. 

In 1854 there were 3313 Auxiliaries, Branches and Asso- 
ciations in England and Wales. At the close of 1883-84 
the number had grown to 5134 ; ^ but the figures give no hint 
of that inevitable process, of disintegration which has been 
noticed in the story of an earlier period, and which imposed 
a constant tax on the best qualities of the District-secretaries. 
Year after year, whether from old age, death, change of 
residence, weariness in well-doing, or denominational differ- 
ences, societies disappeared from the roll. Once only was 
the number of those yearly lapses as small as 24 ; in 1877 
it exceeded 140. In the course of the period no fewer than 
21 16 organisations were struck off the lists as extinct, and 
as many as 3937 new institutions were founded or re-estab- 
lished — a yearly average loss of 70, as against a yearly 
average counter-balance of 131. 

Regular meetings were still the only means by which 
these institutions could be maintained in an efficient state, 
and, as in earlier years, volunteers readily came forward 
to aid the District - secretaries in this exacting work. 
Members of Committee, ministers and laymen of various 
denominations,^ agents who had distributed the Word 

^ 477 Auxiliaries, 376 Branches, 2460 Associations in 1854, as against 1056 
Auxiliaries, 364 Branches, 3714 Associations in 1884. 

^ The Report for 1870 records the death of the Rev. T. A. Methuen, rector of All 
Cannings, Devizes, v^ho had given his services for well-nigh sixty years. Over a long 



in half the languages of Europe, missionaries who 
bore testimony to its power among heathen tribes, they 
formed a splendid succession of prompt and generous 
helpers ; too numerous to mention individually, though 
memory does not easily let slip such names as Canon 
Stowell, John Venn of Hereford, John Hampden Ford- 
ham, Baptist Noel, the Rev. G. J. Adeney, Bruce the 
antiquarian of the Roman Wall, the Rev. J. O. Dykes, 
Robert Moffat, Dr John Stoughton, Prebendary Webb 
Peploe, John MacGregor whose canoe had floated on 
the waters in which Peter cast his nets. Canon Ryle 
(afterwards Bishop), Canon Edmonds, Canon Christopher, 
Canon Fleming, Canon Girdlestone, Henry Morris, Bishop 
Alford, and Bishop Mitchinson. One name, that of the 
Rev. Carr J. Glyn, bright with the poetic associations of 
Witchampton, occurred in every annual list throughout 
the period. 

Thanks to their co-operation, the number of annual 
meetings grew from 2061 in 1854 to 3189 in 1883, but in 
the best of years the number of meetings fell far short of 
the number of organisations. In their anxiety to cover the 
whole ground, the District-secretaries got through an amount 
of work which few outside the Bible House ever realised. 
Long and frequent absence from home was so inevitable 
that one was apt to overlook the sacrifice it involved ; and 
although local friends were numerous, wonderfully warm- 
hearted and hospitable, travelling was still attended by much 
exposure and many hardships. Anniversaries were held 
under the shadow of summer trees ; they were held also 
in knee-deep snow and raging blizzards. Christmas Eve 
did not always find the District -secretary by his own 

period he had devoted annually the month of August to the work of the Society, in 
gratitude for a signal deliverance from sudden death ; and summer after summer he 
and the Rev. Richard Elliot, minister of the Independent Church at Devizes, had 
accompanied Mr Dudley on his circuit. In the Report of 1883, we read of the Rev. 
Thomas Sutton, late vicar of Marton, near Gainsborough, who for about forty years 
gave up his annual holiday to the cause. 


fireside, and even in times of domestic anxiety and bereave- 
ment he remembered that his work was God's work. At 
the beginning of the period the whole of England and 
Wales was worked by seven District-secretaries and three 
Local Agents ; even at its close, when the Local Agencies 
had been absorbed into the general system of management, 
there were only thirteen District-secretaries. 

The Jubilee Year was marked by a special effort to reach 
the home population by colportage, for even after the con- 
tinuous distribution of fifty years it was estimated that 
one half of the reading population of this country (about 
16,000,000) was still destitute of the Word of God. The 
time was afterwards extended ; the grants of the Committee 
were in many instances munificently supplemented by local 
subscriptions and donations ; and the operations were 
supervised by the District-secretaries and Local Agents. 
In four years 328,010 Bibles and Testaments were sold. 
"There had been a vast amount of labour, and tens of 
thousands of weary miles had been travelled. The colpor- 
teurs had laboured among the crowded inhabitants of cities 
and towns, and in the most remote rural districts, where the 
houses were few and far distant from each other." But 
the cost of distribution was heavy — 3d. per copy in Wales, 
8|d. in Norfolk, an average of 3fd. throughout the country. 
The colporteur was invaluable in breaking fresh ground, in 
completing the organisation of new societies, in securing free 
contributors, but the method was regarded as too costly 
except in special circumstances. The District - secretaries 
reduced their colportage to very narrow limits in 1861, but 
three years later the Committee felt the need for a consider- 
able expansion. From 1854 to i86g the colportage grants 
from the Jubilee Fund amounted to ;^92i2 ; from 1870 to 
1884 ;^6724 was voted from the ordinary income— a total 

of ;^ 1 5,936- 

Closely allied to colportage, but boldly original in its 


procedure, was a system of visitation introduced in 1857 by 
the devoted Mrs Ranyard. The eldest daughter of John 
Bazley White, a cement manufacturer, Ellen Henrietta 
White was born in the district of Nine Elms on the 
9th January 1810. At the age of sixteen she and her friend 
Elizabeth Saunders caught fever while visiting the poor. 
Elizabeth died, her brief mission on earth fulfilled. Ellen 
was reserved for many years of service. In 1839 she 
married Benjamin Ranyard, and their son, Arthur Cowper 
Ranyard the astronomer, was born in 1845. She published 
in the Jubilee year her beautiful volume The Book and its 
Story^ a lasting memorial of her attachment to the Bible 
Society and of her love of those divine Scriptures which 
she had made familiar in many a poor man's home. It 
was in the summer of 1856, shortly after taking up her 
residence in London, that her first sight of the dens 
and rookeries of St Giles's suggested the project which 
led to the founding of the Bible and Domestic Female 

The parish of St Giles was one of the horrors of the 
great city. Seven Dials — the very name a synonym of 
violence and crime — stood in the heart of it. Into Church 
Lane, with its dreaded Irish colony, even the police never 
went except in couples. Charing Cross Road was then a 
narrow thoroughfare. Crown Street by name, in the midst 
of a labyrinth of courts and alleys densely crowded by 
families who seldom occupied more than one room. But 
to Mrs Ranyard this nightmare region was hallowed 
ground, baptized with the blood of martyrs. In these 
"Fields," when St Giles's was still a country village, 
men and women gathered on dark winter nights to hear 
the reading of the forbidden book — Wycliffe's translation 
of the Bible. It was in some sheltering copse that a 
company of these "Men of the Book" — a Book not yet 

^ Vol. ii. p. 452. 


printed — were surprised on the night of 6th January 1414. 
Twenty were killed on the spot, and thirty-nine of the 
prisoners, including Sir Roger Acton and Beverley, one 
of their preachers, were afterwards hanged and burned 
near the place where they were taken. And to these same 
St Giles's Fields, on Christmas Day, 1417, Sir John 
Oldcastle was dragged on a hurdle, and hung alive in 
chains over a slow fire. 

Mrs Ranyard's project was to send some good poor 
woman to these wretched homes, and by a strange provi- 
dence her first Biblewoman, Marian B , had already 

been prepared for the work, and was awaiting the call. For 
three-and-thirty years Marian's lot had been cast in the 
purlieus of Seven Dials. A drunken father, who had broken 
her mother's heart, had brought her at the age of fifteen to 
one of the low lodging-houses in the parish, and had 
shortly afterwards died, leaving to her care a little sister 
of five. The children earned a scanty livelihood by cutting 
fire-papers, moulding wax-flowers, and making bags for 
silversmiths ; and many a night they spent together on 
the stairs or the doorstep to escape the scenes which took 
place within. She was taught to read and write by a 
fellow-lodger, a kind-hearted old man but an atheist, who 
warned her never to open the Bible. " It was full of lies; 
she had only to look round her in St Giles's, and she 
might see there was no God." She married at eighteen ; 
her husband was sober and steady, but as poor as herself. 

One rainy night in February 1853, as she took shelter 
in an alley, she was attracted by a religious service in the 
little mission hall in Dudley Street. She entered, and at 
the close she obtained from the missionary the loan of a 
Bible. From the reading of that book she rose up a new 
creature. Through two years of suffering and sickness 
and want it sustained and strengthened her ; and she had 
already written to the missionary offering such help as she 


could give in caring for the sick among the lost and 
degraded of her own sex, when Mrs Ranyard visited St 
Giles's. Gladly she accepted the offer of employment in 
selling Bibles. In that lawless district, where people 
respectably dressed did not care to venture even in broad 
daylight, and where no ordinary colporteur would probably 
have sold a copy, she knew every nook and corner ; the 
people and their ways were familiar to her, and she had no 
fear of hindrance or molestation. Before six months were 
over she had sold 147 Bibles and 207 Testaments among 
the lowest of the low. In the new rector, Mr Thorold, 
afterwards Bishop of Rochester and of Winchester, Mrs 
Ranyard found a sympathetic counsellor and helper. Other 
visitors were discovered. Six were employed in the first 
year ; 36 in the second ; and 137 in the third year ; and 
160 in the fourth, when the number of Bibles and Testaments 
sold amounted to nearly 27,000. Up to that time assistance 
from the Jubilee Fund had been voted to the extent of 
;^2090, on the express stipulation that the grants should be 
applied to Bible distribution and not to any of the chari- 
table and benevolent objects undertaken by the Female 
Bible Mission. During the Cotton Famine some of Mrs 
Ranyard's best women were sent to Lancashire, " not to 
act as almoners, and not so much to sell the Scriptures in 
this case, for the starving cannot buy them, but to be 
loving, humble Bible-readers, and to comfort the people in 
their trouble." In 1863 there was scarcely a city or town 
in England which had not its Biblewoman supported by 
special local contributions ; she was busy in France and 
Germany ; and in Bombay, Calcutta, and Syria she had 
taken up that section of mission work on which Oriental 
custom permitted none but women to venture. 

With the hearty concurrence of Mrs Ranyard, the Com- 
mittee arranged in 1868 that each Biblewoman employed 
within the metropolitan district should receive one shilling 


a week, on condition that a specific portion of her time 
should be devoted weekly to Bible-work alone ; and, a year 
later, when the Jubilee Fund had been exhausted, the grants 
were continued from the ordinary sources. 

On the nth February 1879, as she entered on her 
seventieth year, Mrs Ranyard died of bronchitis, at 13 
Hunter Street. A month had scarcely gone by when her 
husband, at the age of eighty-six, was laid by her side 
in Norwood cemetery. During the twenty-two years in 
which she superintended the beneficent mission she had 
founded, 184,777 Bibles and Testaments were sold in the 
most poverty-stricken parts of London ; and week by week, 
oftentimes penny by penny, ;^23,o86 was collected in 
ungrudging payment for the Word of Life.^ In the 
course of those years the Committee's grants in aid of the 
mission reached a total of ;^ 14, 344. 

A devoted successor was found in her niece, Mrs Selfe 
Leonard. Up to 1884 the Society's grants amounted to 
;^i6,528; and there had been distributed 223,131 copies of 
Scripture. At that date the mission supported, in addition 
to 175 Biblewomen in London, 46 abroad. These last were 
now to receive the benefit of the Society's scheme for the 
employment of Biblewomen in the East. 

The extent to which the regular operations of the Society 
were once more supplemented by independent agencies may 
be realised from the fact that during the thirty years no less 
than ;^i2i,9i3 was voted in miscellaneous grants, from the 
Jubilee Fund and yearly revenue. Correspondents and 
committees undertook special distributions of the Scriptures 
to the value of ;^8553 ; the home work of various missionary 
societies was assisted to the extent of ;^558o; Bibles and 
Testaments put at the disposal of charitable organisations 
cost ;^3278 ; ^5211 was spent in supplying the Word of 


^ " One woman took two years to pay for a Bible which cost is. 5d. ; most of them 
are more than a year about it." — Report, 1870. 



God to prisons, reformatories, workhouses, hospitals, and 
asylums, and in placing copies in railway stations,^ hotels, 
and boarding-houses ; and the provision made for soldiers,^ 
seamen, and emigrants entailed an outlay of ;^ 11,328. The 
aggregate of all these grants, however, was considerably 
less than half the amount which the Society may be said 
to have devoted to education. The copies of Scripture 
distributed among the poor in day and Sunday schools 
absorbed ;^ 17,603, the loss on sales to schools amounted 
to ;^65,376, and ;^73i went to Bible classes. Theological 
institutes and their students received copies to the value 
of ;^2752 ; and ;^i495 was expended for the benefit of the 
blind. The total educational grant reached the large sum 
of ;6'87,96o. 

In an earlier chapter an attempt was made to suggest 
the unrecorded influence which the Society exercised on all 
classes of the population. That undercurrent of history, so 
difficult to estimate, so easily ignored, flowed on through 
this period with an ever-widening range of spiritual power. 
Witness the calamitous years of the Lancashire Cotton 
Famine! In that sudden cessation of employment which 
followed the blockade of the Confederate ports, " the 
behaviour of the Lancashire operatives, under the pressure 
of a terrible and unexpected calamity, was the admiration 
of the world. The distress of that great manufacturing 
county, dire as it was, produced no crime, no professional 
pauperism, no importunate complaints."^ The facts were 

^ Writing in 1878 of a copy of the New Testament and Psalms which he had placed 
in the waiting-room at Coventry station, the Rev. W. Major Paul! said : — "I found 
that some one had shown his bitter hatred of the book not only by writing fierce 
invectives on the fiy-leaf, but also by stripping off the leather from the covers. While 
turning over the pages, doubting for the moment whether we were justified in exposing 
the Holy Bible to such vile treatment, my eye caught this sentence inscribed on the 
last leaf, ' God bless the Society for placing this book here ! ' I instantly felt it was 
all right. That simple acknowledgment of good received dispelled both the doubt 
and the sorrow." 

^ Every movement of troops was watched with interest by the Society. Seventeen 
thousand Testaments, for instance, were distributed among the soldiers when they 
embarked for Egypt in 1882, and it is interesting to know that one of these saved a 
life in the trenches at Tel-el- Kebir. 

' Paul, A History of Modem England, vol. ii. p. 326, 


inexplicable except to those who remembered the wonderful 
revival of religion in Lancashire in 1845, the formation of 
the Manchester Local Agency in 1848, and the remarkable 
circulation of the Scriptures which had afterwards taken place 
from year to year.^ Alongside the generous assistance which 
was contributed from all quarters, the Society liberally gave 
the only help its constitution allowed. Several thousands 
of Bibles, Testaments, and Portions were granted for dis- 
tribution among the poor in their homes, or for the use of 
the unemployed gathered together in schools or occasional 
classes for Bible -reading, and the local collectors readily 
co-operated in the relief of the distressed. As the winter of 
1862 closed in there were half a million people on the relief 
lists, and the weekly loss of wages exceeded ;^ 150,000 ; but 
there was no agitation, no thought of violence, not even 
a murmur of resentment against the Federal Government 
which maintained the blockade. On the contrary, while 
the great mass of influential Englishmen had passed over 
to the side of the planters and slave-owners of the South, 
the working men of Manchester crowned their endurance 
with an address of sympathy to President Lincoln, which 
that great man described as "an instance of sublime 
Christian heroism that had not been surpassed in any age 
or in any country." ^ During the two years of bitter distress, 
and especially in the places where want was most keenly 
felt, the attendance at meetings in Mr Swallow's district was 
far beyond the average ; and if further proof were needed 
of the attachment of the operatives of Lancashire to the 
Bible, it would be found in the fact that while the free 

1 Speaking at the annual meeting in 1862, the Rev. J. Rattenbury, president of 
the Wesleyan Conference, who had just visited Cheshire and Lancashire, asked : " How 
is it that the multitudes are not rising there — that we have not Chartist agitation — 
that designing men are not moving these poor starving multitudes and their families to 
rebel against their rulers and to complain of authority? My answer is— my deep 
religious answer of gratitude to God and to you as a Bible Society — that the wide 
diffusion of the Scriptures, the instruction given to the children of the poor, the 
knowledge of the Word of God, furnish the great secret, under God, of the patience, 
the remarkable resignation, the endurance that now mark the manufacturing dislricts." 

2 Paul, of. cit., vol. ii. p. 35i' 


contributions of the county in 1861-62 amounted to ;^5553, 
they fell no lower than ^4614 in 1862-63, ^"^^ rose again 
to ^5454 in the following year. In 1862-63 the issues of 
Scripture in Lancashire declined to 99,277 ; in 1863-64 they 
sprang up to 147,665 copies. 

The influence so wonderfully manifested in Lancashire 
was no local phenomenon. For thirty years, from five to 
eight of those Bible meetings which Archbishop Sumner 
recognised as "a great means of grace" were held daily 
in some part of England and Wales. The darkest and 
most dangerous courts of crowded cities were penetrated by 
the Biblewoman. In country places, the most remote and 
lonely, the colporteur spoke of the way to salvation. He 
visited camp and barracks ; at the docks, in the sea-ports, 
on the great rivers he passed from ship to ship with his 
versions in many tongues. At Saturday-night markets, at 
fairs and races, at exhibitions, on the railway, on the sands 
at seaside resorts, he was always to be found with his 
Bibles, Testaments, and Portions. Almighty God knows, 
and He alone, for how much all this counted, not only in 
keeping the people of England steadfast in Bible truth 
during troubled years of controversy and speculation, doubt 
and infidelity, but in securing the success of those large 
missionary, denominational, and benevolent movements 
which, at one time, seemed to compromise the Society's 
own means of support. 

We shall now glance for a moment at the resources 
which enabled the Society to fulfil its mission. These, 
it will be remembered, consisted of "new income" and 
"receipts from sales." During the first half of the period 
the sale receipts gave an average of ;^76,ooo a year; in 
the second half they amounted to ^97,200 per annum. 
During the thirty years the total receipts from sales came 

to ;^2,598,900. 

1 884] 



The expansive power of the Society lay in the growth 
of "new income." The "new income" in the first half of 
the period was on the average ;^83,ooo a year ; in the 
second half ;£'io7,8oo a year: a total for the thirty years 
of ;^2, 866,000. As the "new income" fluctuated, the 
enterprise of the Committee was extended or curtailed. 

The "free contributions" from the Auxiliaries had long 
been regarded as the main support of the work, and it 
became the dream of the District-secretaries to secure, as 
a permanent basis of action, a progressively increasing free 
revenue. That project was never wholly realised. It 
seemed as though the Society was meant to learn that 
Providence safeguards a cause most surely when weakness 
is a condition of its strength, instability a condition of its 
permanence, and prayer a condition of its usefulness. 

The following illustration will show very clearly how 
from the most capricious of all resources — donations and 
legacies — the "free contributions" of the Auxiliaries were 
supplemented to meet the requirements of the time. 





1860-64 ^235,200 
(Yearly average ;^47,04o) 



(Yearly average £75,322) 

1865-69 ^246,837 
(Yearly average ^49)367) 



(Yearly average £81,251) 

1870-74 ;£253,S95 ^ 
(Yearly average £50,719) 



(Yearly average £88,529) 

1875-79 ^^273,947 
(Yearly average £54,789) 



(Yearly average £92,273) 

1880-84 £264,479 
(Yearly average £52,895) 



(Yearly average £93,601) 

For the right administration of affairs dependent upon 
so many uncertainties exceptional qualities were needed at 
the Bible House. Years of plenty chequered with years 


of the lean kine made it a hard task to preserve the con- 
tinuity of work which was steadily widening out. In the 
severe winter of 1878 the situation became one of grave 

Proposals were discussed for reducing the number of 
colporteurs and depots abroad, but it was found that such 
a course would mean nothing less than the extinction of 
evangelical work in many parts of Europe, and the Com- 
mittee decided to adopt the alternative of making a slight 
advance in the price of some of the foreign versions. At 
the New Year a special appeal was issued ; by the end 
of March ;^ 10, 180 was subscribed; and the deficit, which 
otherwise would have been nearly ;^20,ooo, was kept down 
to ;^96oo. Happily, the expenditure of the next twelve 
months came well within the limits of the income, and it 
was found possible to revert to the old prices for foreign 

Measured merely by figures, the progress of the 
Society was surprising. The total circulation of the 
Scriptures at home and abroad, which had been 1,367,000 
copies in the Jubilee Year, exceeded 2,000,000 in 1862-63, 
ran into 3,000,000 for the first time in 1870-71, and 
amounted to 3,118,000 in 1883-84. During the thirty years 
over 72,000,000 Bibles, Testaments, and Portions (Bibles 
alone nearly 21,000,000) were scattered over the world in 
many languages. 

In May 1880 at the annual gathering in Exeter Hall, 
Dr Manning, secretary of the Religious Tract Society, 
bore encouraging testimony to the vastness and efficiency 
of the Bible Society's operations. He had gone out on a 
tour of investigation, "resolved to believe nothing he was 
told, and to look at everything which he was not wanted 
to see." Throughout the provinces of Italy he found the 
Society's colporteurs everywhere at work, and at the 
Appian Gate, by which St Paul entered Rome, he sur- 


prised the sentry reading the Epistle to the Romans. At 
Alexandria, and again at Siout, whither the caravans came 
in from the great desert, the depot was in active operation. 
Even above the Cataracts, a Coptic priest showed him 
with pride and joy a Bible which had been procured from 
the depot at Cairo. Joppa and Jerusalem and Damascus 
he visited, and he learned that right away among the 
giant cities of Bashan the Scriptures were being scattered 
broadcast. Returning by Constantinople, where the depot 
in the heart of old Stamboul was "a hive of Christian 
industry," he passed up the Black Sea and along the 
Danube, constantly meeting the colporteurs employed under 
the control of the agent at Vienna. Then he travelled in 
America, and there, ' ' amidst the lumber-men of the primeval 
forests and the voyageurs of the great rivers and lakes of 
British North America, always and everywhere the ubiquitous 
Society was at work." The operations of the Society were 
not faultless or flawless — he could scarcely say that even 
for the operations of the Religious Tract Society — but the 
work, divine and noble as it was in its conception, was 
wisely administered, and well and vigorously conducted, 
and wherever he had been the Society had a staff of which 
any organisation might be proud. 



At this point it will be most convenient to give some account 
of the men immediately concerned in the management of the 
Society's affairs. The Earl of Shaftesbury, who as third 
President succeeded Lord Bexley in 185 1, had now in 1880 
completed his twenty-ninth year of office. Of the two 
Secretaries, the Rev. Robert Frost, it will be remembered, 
was appointed in 1853, and the Rev. S. B. Bergne in 1854. 
The privilege of long service, which had fallen to all but 
one of his predecessors, was not granted to Mr Frost. Early 
in 1857 failing health compelled him to resign, and in the 
closing hours of that year "he departed in peace." ^ The 
Rev. John Mee, who had been closely connected with the 
Church Missionary Society, was appointed Secretary in his 
place, but four years later he accepted the Deanery of 
Grahamstown, Cape Colony,^ and the Rev. Charles Jackson, 
rector of Bentley, Hampshire, succeeded in 1861. 

It was in that year that the Society lost the second of its 
Treasurers — John Thornton, the friend of Reginald Heber 
and the sons of Charles Grant. He joined the Committee 
as early as 1805, a youth of two - and - twenty ; became 
Treasurer in 1S15 on the death of his uncle, Henry 
Thornton ; and after forty-six years' service in that capacity 
died at Clapham on the 29th October, at the age of 
seventy-eight. It is pleasant to remember that his wife, a 

^ In 1896 his portrait was presented to the Society. — B. S. Reporter, 1898, p. 47. 
Some time afterwards the Dean returned to England, and was for three years 
secretary to the Church Missionary Society. He died in 1884. 


ti8s4-i884] OLD BIBLE WORTHIES 25 

niece of Lord Bexley, made some figure in the literature of 
the day as the author of Lady Alice, a Ballad Romance, The 
Marchioness, and Truth and Falsehood, a three-volume novel. ^ 
An old and tried friend, John Bockett, whose name is in- 
serted on the tablet in the entrance hall of the Bible House, 
and on its foundation stone, vsras chosen to fill the vacancy. 
In the prime of life he had sacrificed a lucrative business 
which he found to be incompatible with his profession as 
a Christian, and thenceforward had devoted himself to 
projects of benevolence. Feeling strongly drawn to the 
Society he took his seat on the Committee in 1834, ^"^ i" 
1852 was appointed a Trustee. For eight years he fulfilled 
the duties of Treasurer, but in the autumn of 1869 the charge 
became too heavy for his declining powers, and he asked to 
be released. His name was accordingly transferred to the 
list of Vice - Presidents ; but soon afterwards it became 
evident that his earthly day was drawing to evensong. 
Occasionally he was attracted to the spot which had been 
connected with his happiest moments ; but even for these 
rare visits his strength gradually failed, and on the 13th May 
1 87 1 he passed from these earthly scenes.^ Joseph Hoare 
was appointed his successor at a special general meeting in 
December 1869, at which the chair was taken by Josiah 
Forster, then in his eighty-sixth year. 

We must return to the early thirties for an interesting 
illustration of the spirit which bound men to the Society 
in generous constancy of service. As a token of cordial 
recognition Mr George Marten was elected a Life Governor 
in 1862, on his retirement from the firm which had acted 
for many years as Honorary Solicitors to the Society.^ 

1 Their son Edward Parry Thornton holds a place in Indian history. He 
arrested Nadir Khan in 1852, suppressed the Hazarah tribes during the Mutiny, was 
appointed Judicial Commissioner for the Panjab in i860, and survived till 1893. 

^ In his will Mr Bockett left ;^S000 for the benefit of the cause. In 1899 his 
portrait in oils was presented to the Society. — B. S. Reporter for 1899, p. 226. 

^ Similarly, on his retirement in 1872, another member of tlie firm, Griffith 
Thomas, whose services had extended over forty years, was elected an Honorary 


The connection began as far back as 1831, when the 
firm was known as Brown, Marten & Brown. The style 
changed to Brown, Marten & Thomas in 1833 ; to Marten, 
Thomas and Hollams in 1845 ; to Thomas & Hollams 
in 1862 ; and with two more changes — Hollams, Son & 
Coward in 1874, and Hollams, Sons, Coward & Hawksley 
in 1889 — the old relationship subsists after four-and-seventy 

In the Report for 1867 the Committee announced with 
regret the resignation of the Rev. T. W. Meller, rector of 
Woodbridge, as Editorial Superintendent. He had assisted 
the Rev. J. Jowett, whose failing sight was gradually pass- 
ing into blindness, and had succeeded him in 1849. His 
linguistic gifts were of a remarkable order. There seemed 
to be something almost magical in the way in which, after 
a comparatively brief examination of a version in a strange 
tongue, he was able to suggest to missionaries from remote 
lands niceties of diction and idiomatic improvements which 
had eluded their own research. After having edited the 
Scriptures in eighteen or twenty different languages, in- 
cluding Modern Greek, Sechuana, Malagasy, Maori, and 
several of the South Sea tongues, he surrendered his 
responsible post and accepted the honour of a Life Governor- 
ship. At the time of his retirement he was engaged with 
the Rev. W. G. Lewis, one of the Welsh Calvinistic 
Methodist missionaries from Cherrapoonjee, in passing 
through the press a translation of the New Testament in 
Khasi, and at the special request of the Committee he 
continued to supervise the proofs. This was his last task, 
and it was left unfinished. The excessive mental labour 
of nearly twenty years brought on an alarming nervous 
attack in April 1870. Through distressing stages of aphasia, 
followed by an hour or two of rapid utterance in Khasi, 
he sank paralysed into unconsciousness. After a few weeks, 
health and strength in some measure returned, but there 


was no sign that the alert and vigorous intellect would 
ever be restored. He resigned the living of Woodbridge, 
endeared to him by the pleasant associations of many years, 
and withdrew to a neighbouring village. On the afternoon 
of the 27th January 1871, while he was taking his usual 
walk, God called his spirit home. 

The vacancy was filled by the Rev. R. B. Girdlestone 
(hon. Canon of Christ Church, Oxford, 1882), who for ten 
years sustained the Bible House tradition of scholarship 
and indefatigable energy. Between Mr Meller's accession 
and Canon Girdlestone's resignation the Society added to 
its list of Scriptures complete or partial versions in sixty- 
eight languages. The linguistic progress made in this 
interval, however, will be most clearly seen in the following 
summary of the languages in which the translation or 
distribution of the Word of God was directly or indirectly 
promoted by it : — 

Date. European. Asiatic. Pacific. African. American. Total. 

1849 55 63 10 13 7 148 

1867 57 74 16 21 10 178 

1877 70 88 18 26 14 216 

Canon Girdlestone's successor, the Rev. William Wright, 
was a man of many gifts and of a remarkable personality. 
Born near Rathfriland, County Down, on the 15th January 
1837, educated at Queen's College, Belfast, and drawn to a 
life of Christian service by the preaching of Mr Spurgeon, 
Wright completed his ministerial studies at Geneva. Many 
prospects of usefulness at home offered themselves, but he 
decided in favour of the Irish Presbyterian Mission to the 
Jews, and in 1865 he took up the work at Damascus. Bright, 
mercurial, deeply sympathetic, he attracted many friends. 
Outside what may be called his own circle. Sir Richard 
Burton and the unfortunate Lady Mary Digby found in him 
the staunch and generous loyalty which knows no shadow of 
turning ; and under his hospitable roof, travellers, like Lord 


Leighton and Professor Palmer, formed ties which lasted 
through life. His unbounded physical energy was singularly 
matched with a literary dexterity that was second only to 
his fervid oratory. The combination was not more strange 
than his love of romance and adventure and his devotion 
to the missionary cause. But, in truth, his delight in the 
desert, in the ruined cities of Syria, in the reliques of 
vanished dynasties — his daring rides and scientific wander- 
ings, in the course of which he penetrated to certain 
recesses of the Druses, and gained the confidence of that 
mysterious and suspicious race — were all a phase of his 
intense interest in the Bible, and in everything that might 
illumine its sacred pages. The ill -health of his wife 
brought him home after ten years' residence at Damascus. 
As the period of which we are writing drew to a close 
he published his most important book, The Empire of the 
Hittites, and the University of Glasgow recognised its merit 
by conferring on him the honorary degree of D.D. 

Mr Henry Knolleke, Assistant Foreign Secretary, resigned 
in 1872, and died, after protracted suffering, in January 1878. 
Mr William Hitchin, Assistant Secretary and Accountant, 
retired in 1878, and died at Margate, in his seventy-seventh 
year, in February 1884. Knolleke, whom Dr Steinkopff had 
introduced to the service as a mere lad from the German 
School in the Savoy, had succeeded Dr Jackson in 1850. 
His vacant place was taken by Mr Charles Finch. Hitchin 
had been assistant to Joseph Tarn, the first Accountant,^ and 
succeeded him in 1837. His own successor was Mr William 
Piper Wakelin, who had been Assistant since March i860. 
Mr Wakelin was no more than nineteen when he entered 
the Bible House, and it is interesting to note that he had 
already spent four years as computing clerk and observer at 

' Mr Tarn of the Religious Tract Society, it will be remembered, was the first to 
whom Charles of Bala mentioned the idea of a Bible Society for the benefit of Wales 
and he was present at Old Swan Stairs when Joseph Hughes uttered his memorable 
words : "Why not for the whole world?"— Vol. i. pp. 9, 468. 


Greenwich Observatory under Airy the Astronomer Royal, 
and had assisted in some of the elaborate calculations which 
preceded the laying of the first Atlantic cable. 

The changes which time was making in the personnel at 
the Bible House may be said to have culminated in 1880 
in the retirement of both Secretaries. The Committee had 
endeavoured to lighten Mr Bergne's labours by the appoint- 
ment of the Rev. C. E. B. Reed as his assistant in 1875 ; but 
age and illness had exhausted his strength, and a period 
of complete rest became imperative. Second in succession 
to Joseph Hughes, he had been Secretary for six-and-twenty 
years, and his tenure of office had outlasted that of three of 
his colleagues. Between the beginning and the close of 
his secretariat almost every department of the work had been 
doubled in range and magnitude. The Committee hoped 
still to have the benefit of his experience as Consulting 
Secretary, but a few weeks after his resignation he was again 
stricken down by illness; life slowly ebbed away "in great 
weariness but in unshaken trust," and on the 19th July 1880 
he was released in his seventy-fifth year. 

He was succeeded by his bright and amiable assistant, 
Charles Edward Baines Reed. The eldest son of Sir C. 
Reed, M.P., chairman of the London School Board and a 
Vice-President of the Society, grandson of Dr Andrew Reed,' 
the well-known philanthropist, Mr Reed had been familiar 
from boyhood with large schemes of Christian enterprise ; 
and his gifts, his gentleness, and his youth — he was in his 
thirty-fifth year — promised a long, gracious, and distinguished 

Mr Jackson withdrew to his rectory at Bentley,^ a few 
miles from the New Forest, and for some months Canon 

1 To the initiative of Andrew Reed must be ascribed the foundation of the London 
Orphan Asylum (1813), of the Infant Orphan Asylum (1827), of the Reedham Orphan 
Asylum (1841), and of the Hospital for Incurables (1855). He died m 1862 at the 
age of seventy-five. . ^ , .„ • a -i 00 

''■ Mr Jackson died at Bentley after a long and pamful illness m April iS»S. 


Edmonds filled the second vacancy. On the suggestion of 
the latter the choice of the Committee fell, in July, on the 
Rev. John Sharp, his old friend and fellow-missionary in 
India, who had recently been appointed by the University 
of Cambridge its first lecturer in Telugu and Tamil. Mr 
Sharp was born at Bradford on the 13th March 1837, 
educated at Rugby under the headmasterships of Tait and 
Goulburn, and elected to an open Taberdarship at Queen's 
College, Oxford, where he graduated in honours in 1860.^ 
He was ordained in St Paul's Cathedral by Dr Tait, then 
Bishop of London, in May 1861, and in November he landed 
in Madras as assistant master in the Church Missionary 
Society High School (the Noble College) at Masulapatam. 
During a terrible cyclone on the night of the ist November 
1864 the raging sea swept over Masulapatam and leagues of 
the surrounding country ; thirty thousand people lost their 
lives in the darkness ; and the survivors were left destitute 
of food and fresh water. Mr Noble, the founder of the 
College, died from the effects of the catastrophe, and Mr 
Sharp became principal in 1865. Thirteen years later he 
returned home to recruit from overwork in a trying climate 
and from the results of a fall from his horse. 

In addition to his qualifications, many happy associa- 
tions commended Mr Sharp to the Committee. He was a 
descendant of John Sharp, Archbishop of York, the grand- 
father of Granville Sharp,^ who presided at the meeting at 
which the Society was formed, and a relative of the eminent 
Leeds surgeon William Hey, who raised a fund for the 
printing of hitherto unpublished Oriental versions of the 
New Testament ; while on his mother's side he was a great- 
grandson of the commentator Thomas Scott, the friend of 
Charles of Bala and first secretary of the Church Missionary 

' Among his tutors and teachers at Rugby were three who were afterwards known 
as Bishop Cotton of Calcutta, Dean Bradley of Westminster, and Archbishop Benson. 
2 Vol. i. pp. II, 33. 

i884] A NOTABLE YEAR 31 

In the same year (1880) Mr Alfred Eckenstein, who had 
been one of the staff since 1842, was appointed Agency 
Correspondent ; but as the pressure of work became more 
acute further assistance was needed, and Mr J. J. Brown, of 
the Middle Temple, joined the Bible House as an Assistant 
Secretary in 1882. 

The year 1883 was made memorable by the Society's 
first withdrawal from Protestant countries in a condition to 
maintain their own Bible-work, and by three great tours 
among the foreign agencies whose charge extended from 
Finland to Barbary, and from Spain and Portugal to the 
Urals and Asia Minor. 



Wb turn up the lights on the changing scenes and busy- 
lives of the District-secretaries in England and Wales. At 
the opening of the period the whole country was divided 
among them as follows : — 

I. Charles Stokes Dudley 

2. The Rev. T. Phillips 

3. T. J. Bourne . 

4. The Rev. Philip Kent 

5. G. T. Edwards 

6. The Rev. J. A. Page 


Gloucester, Wilts, Dorset, Somerset, Devon, 
Cornwall, the Channel Islands. 

Wales, Hereford, Monmouth, the Cambrian 
Societies 1 in English towns. 

Suffolk, Cambridge, Huntingdon, Rutland, 
Northampton, Leicester, Warwick, 
Stafford, Worcester, Lancashire (except 
the Manchester Local Agency), and the 
Isle of Man. 

Essex, Herts, Beds, Bucks, Oxford, Berks, 
Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Surrey, 
Sussex and Kent, excepting places within 
a radius of twelve miles from the 
General Post Office. 

Northumberland, Durham, Cumberland, 
Westmoreland, Cheshire and Shropshire. 


7. The Rev. A. T. Edwards Middlesex and places within twelve miles of 

the General Post Office. 

Local Agents. 

8. S. Freeman 

9. George Wingfield . 
10. C. Swallow 


Derby, Nottingham, Lincoln. 

District of the Manchester Auxiliary. 

' There were eight of these — London, Liverpool, Manchester, Chester, Birmingham, 
Shrewsbury, Oswestry, and Bristol. 


The year 1859 brought round the jubilee of the early 
Auxiliaries, and with it a happy retrospect which quickened 
the people to livelier interest and more strenuous exertion. 
The Newcastle Auxiliary — one of the five established in 1809 
— held its jubilee on the i8th October, The New Town Hall 
was filled with an audience of two thousand persons, and the 
parent Society was represented by Mr G. T. Edwards and 
the Dean of Carlisle — Dr Francis Close, whom as a lad we 
saw gathering weekly pennies for the Hull Auxiliary in 
1812.^ Dr J. CoUingwood Bruce, the local secretary, read 
an interesting account of the formation of the Auxiliary 
and of its work on Tyneside. The initiative appears to 
have been taken by Charles Newby Wawn, surgeon-dentist, 
a notable philanthropist in his day, whose name appears 
on the list of the first local committee ; and the Auxiliary 
was founded under the patronage of Bishop Shute Barrington, 
the last but one of the Princes Palatine of Durham, with 
Sir Matthew White Ridley, Bart., M.P.,^ Charles John 
Brandling, M.P., Dr Prosser, Archdeacon of Durham, and Dr 
Thorpe, Archdeacon of Northumberland, as vice-presidents. 
With one exception, all the founders and early friends had 
passed away. Mr George Richardson, who alone survived 
to see the jubilee, was in his eighty-first year, and could 
look back over a long life of varied usefulness. Born of 
humble Quaker parents, at Low Lights, in 1773, he began 
preaching at the age of twenty, and for forty years carried 
the Gospel into every English shire, and into Scotland, 
Ireland, and the Channel Islands. In the Old Flesh 
Market, with its timbered fronts and picturesque gables, 
he had his home and business premises, and there he had 
conducted at his own expense the business of the Auxiliary 
depot from 18 14. During that time more than 240,000 copies 
of the Scriptures had passed through his hands. He had 

^ Vol. i. p. 67. ... 

2 The second Baronet, Bishop Ridley, who suffered at Oxford with Latimer in the 
reign of Queen Mary, was of the same old Border family. 



kept the accounts of the Auxiliary, carried on its corre- 
spondence, arranged the annual meetings throughout the 
district, and periodically visited the Associations. Even 
when far advanced in life, he would put out in a boat 
from Cullercoats, his favourite holiday resort, with a 
supply of Bibles for any French ship that showed in the 

George Richardson died in 1862. The Bible-work for 
which he had done more than any other man on Tyneside 
he bequeathed to his son Henry, who indeed had relieved 
him long before of the official charge of the depot. The 
site of the old-world premises was required for modern 
improvements, and in 1863 a new Bible House was opened 
in Pilgrim Street. Mediseval associations gave the position 
a singular appropriateness, for this was the ancient way to 
the well of healing waters at Jesus' Mount (Jesmond), 
whither "pilgrims came, with great confluence and devotion, 
from all parts of this land." In recognition of his services, 
Henry's name was added in 1878 to the Society's roll of 
Honorary Life Governors, and at the close of the period 
(1884) the aggregate sales of the Auxiliary had run up to 
536,262 copies. From 1809 to 1820 inclusive the remittances 
to London, largely on purchase account, had amounted to 
;^4748 ; between 1821 and 1884 the free contributions alone 
reached a total of ^^24, 122. 

The Olney Branch Society was revived in 1859. For 
twenty years no Bible meeting had been held in the town 
hallowed by the memories of John Newton, the poet Cowper, 
and Thomas Scott the commentator. But for a small annual 
donation, the Branch, which had been founded as far back 
as 1813, would have completely died out. " Circumstances 
beyond my control," wrote Mr Bourne, " barred all access." 
On the 13th December, however, a new era of work was 
started at "a crowded and most delightful meeting." 

But if denominational intolerance sometimes thwarted 


the District-secretaries, they had often much to encourage 
them in places where little was to be expected. Mr Bourne 
could also tell of the men at one of the collieries in the 
Midlands to whom the Society had sent a grant of Scriptures, 
and who were visited twice a week by a zealous clergyman in 
their workings underground. They were eager to possess 
each a volume of his own, but for many of them gd. was 
more than could be afforded. The difficulty was solved 
by the masters, who readily undertook to pay one-third of 
the cost. " I find from their wives and others," wrote the 
good pastor, " that the Bibles are really read, and oftentimes 
in the middle of the night. On one occasion (in the pit) 
they all knelt down, while one man offered up an earnest 
and beautiful prayer : ' Bless, O Lord, Thy servant, whom 
Thou has sent amongst us ; protect him when he comes 
into the bowels of the earth ; keep its tottering pillars from 
falling on his head. Oh, preserve him, that he may be a 
useful minister to us, and own his labours by bringing 
souls to Thyself by his means ! ' " 

In the same year (1859) Mr Edwards was present at the 
anniversary of the Association which had been started in 
1838 at the Chester Lead Works. Here, too, the Bible 
had drawn master and man into kindly relationship. The 
labours of the day began at six o'clock, but half an hour 
earlier, summer and winter alike, the men assembled to 
read a chapter of the Bible, and to pray for God's blessing 
on their employers, their mates, and themselves. By the 
year 1874 they had raised in weekly contributions ;^864 
for the benefit of the Society. Bishop Graham of Chester 
frequently presided at their meetings— eager and engrossed 
meetings held in a great room gaily hung with banners, 
evergreens, and Scripture texts, and crowded with the 
operatives and their families ; and on one occasion, to 
their pride and delight. Lord Shaftesbury himself took the 
chair. When Mr Edwards attended another anniversary, 


twenty years later, the total of their free contributions 
exceeded ;;^iooo. 

In 1859 the Manchester Local Agency was absorbed, and 
Mr Swallow was appointed District-secretary for Stafford- 
shire and the whole of Lancashire south of the Ribble. 
North Lancashire and the Isle of Man passed to Mr 
Edwards ; Oxfordshire was assigned to Mr Dudley ; and 
Mr Philip Kent took over the district outside the metro- 
politan four-mile radius. 

In the last days of October i860, the Manchester and 
Liverpool Auxiliaries combined to celebrate their fiftieth 
year. Lord Shaftesbury was unable to preside, but the 
Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool and the Free Trade Hall 
in Manchester were crowded ; and in the latter city two 
clergymen and two Nonconformist ministers addressed a 
gathering of some five or six thousand teachers and elder 
scholars of Sunday schools. Mr Adam Hodgson, who 
presided at the public breakfast in St George's Hall, 
Liverpool, was the sole survivor of those who had formed 
the Auxiliary on the 4th January 1810, though the secretary 
of the Auxiliary, Dr Raffles, had been present at its first 
public meeting on the 21st April. At the Manchester 
breakfast the chair was taken by Mr Samuel Fletcher, who 
shared with Mr John Burton and Mr George Hadfield, M.P., 
the distinction of having been a continuous subscriber for 
half a century. These two Auxiliaries, it was recorded, 
had sent the parent Society more than ;^6o,ooo in free 
contributions and about ;£'4000 in special donations, 
and had expended large sums in supplying local require- 
ments. Their joint circulation of the Scriptures amounted 
to 1,368,390 copies. Plans were adopted for making the 
jubilee a starting point for action on a large scale, and a 
jubilee edition of the Bible was issued, with the inscription, 
My Word is Truth, the arms of Manchester and Liverpool, 
and the coronet of the Duchy. 


In the same year Sunderland, Kendal, and Bristol 
held their jubilees. During its half century the Bristol 
Auxiliary had transmitted ;^75,ooo to the Society, about 
one-half in free contributions, and the rest in payment for 
the Scriptures, of which it had distributed 330,916 copies. 

At the close of i860 Mr T. J. Bourne retired from the 
cares of his extensive district. He had served the Society 
as secretary of the Antigua Auxiliary, had joined the home 
district staff in 1839, and during his tenure of ofBce had 
undertaken the important tour in Cape Colony, described 
in the preceding volume. A worthy successor was found 
in the Rev. J. D. Miller, curate of Blore, Derbyshire. 

Worn out with the infirmities of over three score and 
ten, Mr George Wingfield, Local Agent for "the Three 
Counties," resigned in March 1861. He had begun work 
in Derbyshire in 1838, and ten years later the Local 
Agency for the united counties of Derby, Nottingham, 
and Lincoln was started. He perceived that the resources 
of his district lay very largely among the agricultural popu- 
lation. Travelling yearly between five and six thousand 
miles, he visited the hamlets and scattered homesteads of 
the south Derby pastures ; Associations were formed in the 
villages within the circuit of old Sherwood ; and even in 
the fen and marsh districts of Lincolnshire, where many 
thought colportage would be useless, hundreds of Bibles were 
subscribed for. In 1848 the remittances from the Three 
Counties amounted to ;^24o6 free and ;^2ii8 on purchase 
account; in 1859 the figures were — free, £444.2; purchase, 
;^26i2. Mr Wingfield did not long enjoy the annuity 
provided for him by his friends with the help of the Com- 
mittee ; in the Report for 1863 a last reference was made to 
his long and faithful service. His place was filled by the 
Rev. W. Spencer, but in 1864 the Local Agency of the Three 
Counties was also merged, and Mr Spencer was ranked 
among the District-secretaries, with a larger field of action. 


The jubilee of the East Suffolk Auxiliary was held in 
April 1861. The Society's first Secretaries, Owen, Hughes, 
and Steinkopff, had been present with the "few warm- 
hearted and generous-minded men of Ipswich" when they 
founded the institution in the old Shire Hall. They were 
all dead ; and, like them, four of its presidents — Bishops 
of the diocese — and nearly all its original committee and 
officials had passed away. It had transmitted ;^55,862 in 
free contributions and on purchase account, and had dis- 
tributed 188,236 copies of Scripture. 

The death of Charles Stokes Dudley, in 1862, severed one 
of the last links with a past to which these successive jubilees 
were giving a feeling of strange remoteness. When the 
District-secretaries met for their annual conference in 1858, 
Mr Dudley's chair was for the first time vacant. He had 
entered his seventy-ninth year ; but in spite of illness and 
weakness, he ■ clung to the supervision of his district, and 
the Committee gave him the Rev. J. P. Hewlett as an 
assistant. His last report was written in January 1862. 
For some weeks before the end he lay wandering in his 
mind, but the broken words which occasionally dropped 
from his lips told of his nearness to Christ and his constant 
thought of his Auxiliaries. After nearly seven days of 
silence he uttered his last audible words: "How sweet to 
be at rest ! Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose 
mind is stayed on Thee," and on the evening of the 4th 
November, in his eighty-third year, he fell asleep, at 
Broadlands, Taunton. He had been enrolled among the 
Honorary Life Governors as early as 1817, and until the 
appointment of Mr Brackenbury in 1828 he was the only 
District-secretary. His elaborate book, an Analysis of the 
System of the Bible Society, has even to-day its value and 
interest. During seven years of gratuitous co-operation 
and forty-two of regular service, he travelled little less 
than 300,000 miles, addressed between 7000 and 8000 


public meetings, conducted an extensive correspondence, 
and took the leading part in founding 1500 Auxiliaries, 
Branches, and Associations. " No single individual," the 
Committee declared, "had ever done so much to extend 
and strengthen and maintain the cause of the Society, at 
least within the limits of the British community." 

His assistant, Mr Hewlett, who had had considerable 
experience as a deputation,^ succeeded to the charge of 
the Western District. In this year (1862) he visited 
Witchampton, and noted "the cheerful peal ushering in 
the Bible-day, the flag flying on the church tower, the 
vehicles pouring in from all quarters, the Golden Tree, 
the contributions from Sunday scholars, the thank-offerings 
for mercies received, the warm hospitality of the rectory : " 
all which we may think of as recurring summer after 
summer for some decades to come. In the northern 
counties Mr Edwards and his assistant Ephraim Lister 
were busy arranging schemes of colportage for Barrow, 
Ulverstone, Stockton, and Middlesboro'. 

Think of the change which had taken place in English 
industry ! In 1845 Barrow had consisted of five farms, ten 
cottages, and two public-houses, with a population of sixty- 
eight persons. In 1829 the site of Middlesboro' was occupied 
by a solitary farmhouse, part of which had been an old Bene- 
dictine monastery. The urban population of England and 
Wales, which in 1851 exceeded the rural population by 
384,000, exceeded it in 1881 by 4,320,000. That great 
massing of the working classes created a problem for the 
District-secretaries which was extremely difficult to deal 

On the 2nd December 1864, after a long illness, the 

1 "During the last twenty-one years," he wrote in 1863, "I have travelled as a 
deputation about 73,000 miles, a distance equal to thrice the circumference of the 
globe ;" and until March that year no accident had befallen him. On a dark night 
in that month as he and Mr James Cadbury, his host, were returning from one of the 
Banbury mestings the carriage was upset, but happily with little damage. 


Rev. J. D. Miller, who had succeeded Mr Bourne, died 
at the early age of thirty-six. The vacancy was filled by 
Mr George Hall of Quarndon, Derby, but early in 1867 
he accepted an engagement with the Church Missionary 
Society, and the Rev. H. A. Browne of Toft Newton took 
charge of the district till January 1868, when the Rev, G. T. 
Birch succeeded. 

In this last year of the old Bible House in Earl Street 
a tragic shadow fell on the work of the District-secretaries. 
The Rev. Philip Kent was stricken down by paralysis in 
the midst of his busy occupations. He had attended a 
meeting at Titchfield, Hampshire, and was the guest of 
the Rev. T. Cousins, when at the close of evening prayers 
it was found that he was unable to rise from his knees. 
Medical aid was at once summoned, but for weeks his life 
hung by a thread. He rallied sufficiently to be removed 
to his home at Peckham, and there he lingered, speech- 
less, with mind impaired, and the use of his right side 
entirely lost.^ 

Mr George Hall promptly volunteered, but he had 
scarcely taken up Mr Kent's duties when he was dis- 
covered speechless in his library, and in a few hours he 
breathed his last. Arrangements were then made with 
the Rev. R. G. Milne of Tintwistle. He resumed the 
interrupted series of meetings, and returned home for a 
few days to prepare for his stay in the south. He too was 
seized with illness, and a stroke of paralysis incapacitated 
him from any kind of public service. At last the Rev. G. 
Robbins of Slough was appointed to the district early in 

Before this fateful year ended, the Rev. Dr Phillips, 
the District-secretary for Wales, broke down under the 
strain of duties which had not been relaxed for three-and- 

^ For twenty years Mr Kent waited patiently in retirement and suffering for the 
summons to his rest. He died on the 4th April 1888, at the age of eighty-six. He 
had been District-secretary for a quarter of a century. 


thirty years. Some premonition of numbered days had been 
borne in upon him in 1866. " When I look into the Report 
for 1865 for the names which appeared in that of 1836 I can 
find only one ; and if I look beyond the Committee, there is 
not a single name left on the home staff of officers, and only 
one among the foreign agents of the Society." In his own 
district — now so developed that "it would furnish eighty 
weeks of profitable labour in the course of the year " — there 
were but thirty persons still in office of the number of 
excellent men who had given him his first welcome in the 
Principality. With a few weeks' rest and the relief afforded 
by the appointment of the Rev. W. Dickens Lewis as his 
assistant, he was able in 1869 to address 138 meetings and 
preach 46 sermons, besides attending to literary and editorial 
work. Full of his old buoyant cheerfulness, he was present 
at the conference of District-secretaries in February 1870 
and the anniversary gathering in May, and had planned 
with his assistant — bilingual like himself — to break fresh 
ground where the opening of slate-quarries and coal and iron 
works had formed centres of population. These were but 
the last flashes of the lamp. After attending 85 meetings 
and preaching many sermons in spite of much suffering and 
physical weakness, he took to his bed in August, and on the 
I2th October he completed his record of work with the 
words : "The End : ' His work is honourable and glorious.' " 
The end came on the 28th, at his home in Hereford. He 
was laid to rest in the churchyard at Tupsley, and "devout 
men carried him to his burial, and made great lamentation 
over him." 

Thomas Phillips was one of Dudley's picked men, and 
a worker after his heart. For five-and-thirty years he carried 
with him the sunshine of his kindly disposition and the 
magical tones of the Welsh language, and few men were 
more widely known and none better loved in that wild 
country than "the Peacemaker." When he began his 


circuits there were 102 affiliated institutions in the whole of 
Wales; in 1870 there were 438 Auxiliaries and Branches; 
and the annual free contributions had increased from ;^2023 
to ;^668o, while the outlay on purchase account, which had 
risen from ;^2224 to ;^267i, showed that the desire for the 
Word of God had suffered no abatement. The Cambrian 
Societies alone contributed over ;^7oo a year. In 1866 he 
represented the Committee at the jubilee of the American 
Bible Society, and was invested with the honorary distinction 
of D.D. by the University of New York ; and during his visit 
he spent some time among the Welsh settlements where he 
met many friends of his youth, and warmly urged the claims 
of the great institution of the States. One arduous and 
delicate task he accomplished for his countrymen and for 
the Society. After a laborious collation of all the editions 
of the Welsh Bible, he succeeded with the aid of the best 
Welsh scholars in producing a standard text in the language 
of the Principality. 

Mr Hewlett had now been for ten years in charge of the 
Western District. He had travelled about 90,000 miles and 
addressed very nearly 2000 meetings, and under his care 
the number of Auxiliaries had increased to 593, and the free 
contributions had advanced from ^5373 in 1859 to ;^5947 
in 1868. In 1869 he was transferred to the Metropolis, and 
his place was taken by the Rev. Walter John Edmonds, 
curate of Redruth. Edmonds was born at Penzance on the 
6th October 1834. In i860 he was sent out to Southern 
India by the Church Missionary Society, and took up 
his post as the first missionary to the Koi tribes on the 
Godavery ; but his health and that of his wife failed, and 
they returned home in 1863 — she to die, and he to become 
as time went on Canon of Exeter, and one of the staunchest, 
most accomplished and versatile of the Society's supporters. 



London, with its enormous growth of population, its annual 
expansion into miles of new streets, its drift westward to 
gayer and more luxurious conditions of social life, had long 
presented a bewildering problem. The Rev. Allen T. 
Edwards struggled with it from the Jubilee Year to the 
close of 1857. On his resignation ^ the Metropolis was 
divided into East and West, under the charge of Major 
Scott Phillips and the Rev. R. F. Wheeler; new depots 
were opened, and colportage and canvassing were success- 
fully used to quicken the inert Auxiliaries and Associations. 
Major Scott Phillips retired, however, in the course of 1859, 
and a temporary arrangement, which soon became a regular 
engagement, was made with the Rev. W. Pascoe Tiddy, 
who had served the Society for nearly twenty years on the 

Mr Tiddy initiated a bold and radical policy. The large 
Auxiliaries which had flourished when the population was 
little over a million, seemed to him no longer adapted to the 
conditions of the two and three quarter millions which had 
completely altered the character of the old areas ; and he 
urged immediate subdivision and reconstruction on a more 
manageable scale. The Westminster Auxiliary, which from 
1812 had largely contributed to the free income and circu- 
lated 109,000 copies of Scripture, was remodelled into six 
compact and active societies. A new Auxiliary, with Sir 

' For many years afterwards a friend and helper ; died August 1904. 



John Lawrence as president and Sir Henry Havelock as 
vice-president, was established at Bayswater; new institu- 
tions were organised in East London ; and the colporteur 
and Biblewoman infused new life into the work. Unhappily 
Mr Wheeler's acceptance of a Northumbrian living occa- 
sioned another break in that continuity which counts for so 
much in steady progress. During his two years of office 
he had formed 27 Auxiliaries and Associations, and had 
raised the circulation from 32,993 to 57,755 copies, and the 
receipts from ;^2669 to ;^4047 ; but the condition of the 
capital of the world was deplorable. "The great and rich 
population of the western portion of the Metropolis," he 
wrote, " contributes less than Jd. per head per annum to the 
Society's free fund ; the eastern and poorer part about ^d. 
and a half; the Metropolis altogether little more than a 
farthing." And the little Isle of Anglesea was sending 
yearly 4|d. a head, or nearly eighteen times as much as 
each Londoner gave. 

The subdivision of the time-honoured organisations was 
effected amid many difficulties and delays. In 1862 the 
Southwark Auxiliary, the oldest of all the Metropolitan 
societies, was converted into six, and the East London into 
five smaller Auxiliaries ; ^ but it was not until the end of 1867 
that the Blackheath Auxiliary adopted the only method by 
which it seemed possible to restore an effectual activity. 
The Rev. W. H. Graham succeeded Mr Wheeler as District- 
secretary for West London. In 1866 he was appointed 
vicar of St Paul's, Penge, and the vacancy was filled by 
the Rev. J. H. Hill. In the same year the Rev. Dr Gill 
entered on a new project for awakening the interest of the 
thousands of children and young people in the schools and 
colleges in and around the Metropolis. He adapted the 

' The aggregate issues of the Southwark Auxiliary up to this date were 140,000 
Bibles and 90,000 Testaments; its receipts, £']\,<:>2']. The figures for the East 
London Auxiliary were 58,143 Bibles, 51,363 Testaments, and ;f 10,800, of which 
;^6450 was transmitted to the Bible House in free contributions. 


magic-lantern to his addresses, collected several hundreds 
of pounds for the building of the new Bible House, and 
formed a number of juvenile associations.^ 

Alongside the teeming city with its leagues of streets lay 
the great river, with its throng of shipping and its tens of 
thousands of seamen of every nationality. In 1855-56 the 
Merchant Seamen's Bible Society, which had distributed 
i95)Oi9 copies of the Scriptures in many tongues, was 
dissolved ; the name of Edward Suter, who for thirty-seven 
years had been its honorary secretary, was placed on 
the list of Life Governors ; and the charge was committed 
to the Metropolitan District -secretary. Two colporteurs 
were appointed for the systematic visitation of merchant 
vessels and the lodgings of seafarers along the water-side ; 
and during the next twelve years over 100,000 ships were 
boarded, and between 50,000 and 60,000 volumes were sold.* 
In 1868 arrangements were made for the transference of the 
work to the British and Foreign Sailors' Society and the 
Thames Church Mission, to each of which an annual subsidy 
was voted for the maintenance of a colporteur ; and grants 
were subsequently made with the same object to the Mission 
to Seamen and the Association for Supplying the Scriptures 
to Foreign Sailors. Between 1869 and 1884 the expenditure 
incurred for this purpose amounted to ;6^383i. 

With their responsibility so far lightened, the Committee 
reconstituted East and West London as a single district within 

' Dr Gill continued his special work until 1870. In April that year he was seized 
with alarming illness during a lecture to the convalescent patients at Brorapton 
Hospital. He never thoroughly recovered, and after much suffering he died on the 
4th November 1870, within a week of the departure of Dr Phillips. 

^ Among the reminiscences of this river work, one may be mentioned. Colporteur 
Otte visited the steamship London before she left Tilbury Docks on her ill-fated 
voyage to Melbourne on 30th December 1865. On the nth January she foundered 
in the Bay of Biscay with some two hundred and thirty passengers and crew. A little 
while before the end, "the Rev. Mr Draper," wrote one of the nineteen survivors, 
" was sitting about the middle of the cuddy, at one of the tables, with many round 
him, reading and praying unceasingly. Now and then there would be heard a voice 
saying, ' Oh, Mr Draper, pray with me.' There were also to be seen men by them- 
selves reading the Bible." — Cornhill Magazine, Account of a Survivor. 


the twelve miles postal radius ; and in 1869, as we have seen, 
Mr Hewlett succeeded Mr Tiddy and Mr Hill. 

The difficulties which for a long time had beset the 
work of the District-secretaries — difficulties arising from in- 
fidelity and indifference, from denominational estrangement 
and political antagonism on ecclesiastical and educational 
questions, from the death of old friends and the dearth of 
successors, and finally from the rapid increase of other 
societies, religious and benevolent — appear to have been 
most acutely felt during the next four years. In consequence 
of the stress and strain of the work in 1867 various departures 
from the old methods had been suggested, such as lectures 
when regular meetings could not be held, drawing-room 
Bible meetings for the higher classes, sermons and offertories 
in places where Associations could not be formed for want of 
active workers, and, most important of all, the formation of 
congregational Associations around an Auxiliary as a common 
catholic centre. But any change — especially a change which 
might be misinterpreted as a new reading of the constitution 
of the Society — was regarded by the Committee with doubt 
and misgiving. In 1871 the same proposals were strongly 
urged by Mr Hewlett, who insisted on the danger of adhering 
" rigidly and exclusively to the admirable plans and modes of 
action devised in very different circumstances more than half 
a century ago." Three years later the position was discussed 
by a sub-committee in conference with the District-secretaries, 
but the only definite result was an expression of deep regret 
that the distribution of God's Word should be impeded by 
the growing unwillingness of members of different com- 
munions to meet on the same platform, and a prayer that 
grace might be given to the children of the same Father 
to co-operate in carrying out His will. That prayer was 
largely answered, and in many districts the need for 
congregational expedients was obviated by a return to the 
old spirit of liberality and Christian union. 


In 1875, after fifteen years' service, Mr Hewlett was pre- 
sented to the living of Purton, Wilts, by Lord Shaftesbury. 
He left the Metropolis with 300 Auxiliaries and Associations, 
a free revenue of ;£'5i22 for the year, and the debt of ;^3686 
due from the depots in 1869 reduced to an ordinary business 
credit. The position was occupied from 1875 to 1878 by the 
Rev. D. Parker Morgan, and from 1879 to 1882 by the Rev. 
James I. Cohen. During these years trade arrangements 
were made with the booksellers both in London and the 
provinces for the sale of the Scriptures ("open depots"); 
and the increasing number of pulpits placed at the disposal 
of the Society helped to compensate, both by spreading 
information and securing support, for shortcomings in the 
matter of regular annual meetings. The Rev. David Brodie 
succeeded Mr Cohen on his appointment to the secretary- 
ship of the Church Pastoral Aid Society ; and in 1884 the 
Metropolis contained 394 Auxiliaries and Associations, there 
was a free revenue of ;^62o8, and the issues of Scripture 
amounted to 42,210 copies, of which 26,443 were Bibles. But 
what a stupendous undertaking lay before him in that appal- 
ling Babylon, which housed a population greater than that of 
Scotland, beneath whose roofs a child was born every three 
minutes, and death released an immortal soul in every five ! 

In 1871 another of the District-secretaries, the Rev. W. 
Spencer, was called away with startling suddenness. He 
had attended the service at Westminster Abbey on the 
evening of the 30th April ; at an early hour on the 3rd May 
he breathed his last. The Rev. C. de Boinville, who had 
laboured as a minister of the Gospel for twenty years in 
France, was appointed in his place ; but his strength proved 
unequal to the work, and he resigned in 1873. By a strange 
coincidence one of his last duties was an address at the 
annual meeting at Ashwell, in Hertfordshire, the village in 
which he was born in 18 19, and which he now really saw 
for the first time. 


An important rearrangement of district areas was made 
in 1872. The counties of Bucks, Northampton, Rutland, 
Leicester, Warwick, Oxford, and Worcester were grouped 
into a new charge and assigned to the Rev. W. Major 
Paull, who became, long afterwards, one of the Secretaries of 
the Society. Mr Edwards exchanged Cheshire and Shrop- 
shire for the North and East Ridings of Yorkshire, and Mr 
Page retained the West Riding and annexed North Derby 
and Cheshire. The whole of Yorkshire had been under the 
care of Mr Page since 1852. In that year there were 177 
Auxiliaries and Associations. The number increased to 355 
in 1861 and 388 in 1867 ; and in the interval every town 
and nearly every moorland village in the three Ridings had 
been visited by collectors and colporteurs ; children had 
been gathered into juvenile associations ; and an average of 
about 70,000 copies of Scripture had been issued annually. 
At the end of 1871 the free income was ;£^525o, and in 
the twenty years of his agency the aggregate free receipts 
amounted to ;^75,24i as against ;^44,979 in the preceding 
twenty years. 

The Rev. W. J. Edmonds withdrew on account of failing 
health in 1873, and the South Western Counties passed to 
the Rev. Richard Perkins, who lived to be senior District- 
secretary in the closing years of the century. In 1874, 
after twenty years of service, Mr Charles Swallow retired 
on a small annuity. He had had the satisfaction of seeing 
the Bible Society housed in 187 1, with the Religious Tract 
Society and the Manchester City Mission, in a handsome 
building erected in Corporation Street, Manchester, at the 
expense of Mr John Fernley, of Clairville, Southport.^ In 
his last year of office the free contributions of his district 

1 The freehold site was purchased by public subscription for ;^37oo ; the edifice 
cost ;^4S00, and was opened on the i6th June. Mr Fernley, who had been 
associated with tlie Manchester Auxiliary for nearly forty years, died in 1872-73, 
leaving the Society a legacy of ^2000. 

tJ-Ae ciue/'^^y£yCMi^^. J2^ &nAaru:e: 


amounted to ;^5i98, and the purchase account to ^^6225, 
while the issues numbered 117,469 copies. 

For three years Mr Dickens Lewis had laboured on the 
vast scale of his predecessor, Dr Phillips. In 1874, however, 
the Principality was divided, and the Rev. H. Griffiths was 
appointed to South Wales, Hereford, and Monmouth. The 
following year South Yorkshire and North Lincoln were 
formed into a new district, which was entrusted to the Rev. 
E. P. Powell, but after a few months' work he accepted a 
curacy in Halifax, and in August 1876 he was succeeded 
by the Rev. F. D. Thomson of Swansea, who attained the 
position of senior District - secretary on the eve of the 
centenary. In the winter of 1876 the Rev. G. T. Birch 
resigned from ill-health, after nine years' service ; and the 
Rev. Isaac Raine undertook the supervision of Derby, 
Notts, and South Lincoln in his stead. 

Among the many interesting details of the Report for 
1878, Mr Robbins refers to one of those beautiful anniver- 
saries which had "almost grown into a county ' institution.' " 
As far back as 1845 Mr Joseph Stratton, then a young man 
of one-and-twenty, had been won over to the Society by 
Mr Methuen of All Cannings. Two years later he started 
the Pewsey Vale Branch of the Devizes Auxiliary, and in 
1855 he threw open his large rose-gardens at Manningford 
Bruce for the first of a series of delightful yearly gather- 
ings which came to be known as the Rose Meetings. On 
Coronation Day if possible — or some day sooner or later at 
the will of the roses— the winding roads among the Wilt- 
shire Downs were busy with holiday traffic. From miles 
around, the Society's friends, rich and poor, arrived on foot 
or in vehicles of all sorts— gigs, traps, dog-carts, carriages, 
with here and there a kindly farmer's waggon, "the Ship 
of the Downs," manned with a crew of rosy-cheeked maidens 
and school children. Sometimes a hundred vehicles were 



counted near the thatched and quaintly-gabled country house 
of the host, and the 300 inhabitants of the Vale were out- 
numbered, two or three times to one, by their visitors. 
At first the meetings had been held in the village school- 
room. That was in the days of Mr Dudley, and perchance 
some old shepherd, who has long been too frail to follow 
the tracks to the dew-ponds, may still remember that prince 
of District-secretaries. Then a great barn, garnished with 
nosegays and green branches, was used for the increasing 
numbers ; next, a large tent — afterwards two large tents — 
were pitched on the lawn. On the days of these Rose 
Meetings, according to tradition, the weather of Pewsey Vale 
was the weather of Avilion : no rain fell, "nor ever wind 
blew loudly " ; but there were pleasant rambles among the 
roses, marvellous in their beauty and bewildering in their 
names ; bounteous tables were spread for tea ; there was 
perhaps a bazaar, or "Bible boxes" were opened; the 
children sang hymns, in which their elders took part ; 
addresses were delivered; a "deputation," it may be, 
exhibited some treasured Bible borrowed from the Library 
of the Bible House, and told the story of suffering or sorrow 
or regeneration by which it was consecrated ; a missionary 
spoke of his labours in the East or in an isle of the South 
Seas, and of the progress of the Society's work. Then 
came the cordial leave-taking ; and all along the valley 
the summer twilight was enlivened with the sound of voices 
and the roll of wheels, until the last of what seemed a swarm 
of fire-flies disappeared, and the beat of the horses' hoofs 
died away in the windings of the Downs. Years afterwards, 
under strange skies and among dusky faces, the heart of 
more than one missionary was stirred and strengthened 
by the recollection of those Rose Meetings in the Vale of 
Pewsey. At this meeting in which Mr Robbins took part, 
considerably over ;£'ioo was raised for the purposes of the 
Society. In 1883 Mr Stratton was enrolled among the 


Honorary Life Governors, and we shall meet him again as 
our History draws to a close. 

A number of important changes took place in 1878. 
Derby, Notts, Leicester, Rutland, and Northampton were 
formed into a new district and placed under the super- 
vision of the Rev. James Thomas, sometime of the London 
Missionary Society, who had just returned from China after 
a residence of nearly ten years. In the course of the year 
Mr Robbins surrendered the South Eastern District, and 
Mr Algernon C. P. Coote, who had taken up the work of 
the Rev. C. de Boinville in 1874, was transferred to the 
charge, while his own post in the Eastern Counties was 
filled by the Rev. Robert Black of Liverpool. But Mr 
Coote found the strain of constant travelling and public 
speaking beyond his strength, and he resigned early in 
1880. Notwithstanding three months' absence through ill- 
ness, he had raised the number of Auxiliaries and Associa- 
tions to 441, and the free contributions to ;^6329, "the 
highest figure they had ever reached since the formation 
of the district."^ The vacancy was filled by the transfer of 
the Rev. W. Major Paull from the West Midland District, 
which, after a brief tenure by the Rev. George Davidson, 
was assigned in the summer of 1881 to the Rev. R. G. 
Hunt, son of the Church Missionary Society pioneer 
Robert Hunt, who shared the sufferings of Captain Allen 
Gardiner in Tierra del Fuego, and afterwards accompanied 
Bishop Anderson to Rupert's Land. 

In the beginning of 1880 the Society sustained a grievous 
loss in the death of the Rev. James Augustus Page. In 
Yorkshire, and afterwards in Lancashire and Cheshire, he 
had achieved results which it would be difficult to over- 
estimate. He adopted the congregational system with such 
tact and catholic liberality that in many places the various 
denominations spontaneously abandoned their exclusiveness 

1 Mr Coote succeeded his father in the premier baronetcy of Ireland in 1899. 


and combined on the common platform of the Society, To 
his brightness and humour and tenderness the. Juvenile 
movement owed in a great measure its remarkable develop- 
ment during the period. In 1S58 there were said to be 
100 children's associations scattered over the country, but 
his success in Yorkshire, where in ten years his little 
"bands of hope" contributed upwards of ;^iooo, awakened 
the emulation of other districts, his colleagues obtained his 
co-operation, and references to Twigs and Blossoms and large 
gatherings of little folk on Bible Day became more and more 
frequent in the Reports. In 1875 his children's income for 
the year was ;^8oo. Two years later he had 78 associations, 
and the receipts from Southport with its numerous schools 
reached ;^200. Among the young Bible people of 1877 one 
society must be mentioned. Mr Robbins founded it in a 
private school in Hampshire, and its secretary was a son of 
the Prime Minister of Madagascar ! In 1878 we read of 
Mr Coote's 44 children's associations in the Eastern Counties ; 
of the Sunderland children raising £51 for the year ; of the 
Newcastle children sending ;^89 (which brought their eight 
years' total up to ;^53o) ; of a Twig at Ponteland, a 
Northumbrian village, and of juvenile workers at Darling- 
ton, Bishop Auckland, Chester-le-Street, Kendal, and other 
places. In the last year of the period the children of York- 
shire raised over ;^iooo. Mr Page was succeeded by the 
Rev. Jelinger E. Symons. 

In 1 88 1 the last of the Local Agencies, that of the 
Norfolk Auxiliary, was absorbed into the general District 
system. Unlike the other Local Agencies, it had been self- 
supporting from its foundation. Its free income, which after 
payment of expenses was transmitted to the Bible House, 
increased from ;^i020 in 1858 to ;^i793 in 1874; and for 
a number of years its purchase account considerably exceeded 
;£'500. "Beloved in every Norfolk village" and a worthy 
colleague of the great District-secretaries, Samuel Wiseman 


resigned in the course of 1875, in the eighty-second year of 
his age, and the thirty-eighth of his agency. ^ He was 
succeeded by Mr J. R. Cossons of Lynn ; on whose retire- 
ment, early in 1881, Norfolk, with its 227 Branches and 
Associations and its net free income of ;^i402, was formed 
with Suffolk into a new district, and placed under the 
supervision of the Rev. George Davidson. 

An interesting retrospect was addressed to the Committee 
in 1881 by the senior District-secretary, Mr George T. 
Edwards, who touched on the changes which had taken 
place since his accession to the Society in 1850. "I have 
seen," he wrote, "eight Secretaries depart, while of the five 
District-secretaries who, in addition to myself, composed the 
staff thirty years ago, only one remains, and he has long 
since retired from service.^ In 1850 almost half of Europe 
was closed against the Society ; to-day every country is 
open, and Rome is the centre of operations for Italy. I 
have been permitted to attend 4658 meetings ; to commence 
those which are now annually held among the English on 
the Continent ; and to attend the first meeting ever held in 
the city of Rome. I have travelled nearly 200,000 miles, 
in all kinds of weather, and have never had any accident." 

The Continental meetings to which he referred began 
almost casually in 1866, when after severe bereavement, 
Mr Edwards, accompanied by the Rev. Carr J. Glyn, went 
for change to the Continent ; but they quickly developed into 
regular annual tours. In 1867 Mr Edwards visited eighteen 
French towns, including Nice, Cannes, Mentone, Pau, 
Biarritz, Nimes, and Montpellier ; and in time other District- 
secretaries participated in this work, which was found in 
many ways advantageous to the cause and beneficial to the 

' In his last full year of service, though his strength was visibly failing, Wiseman 
attended i6o meetings. His name was inscribed on the list of Honorary Life 
Governors, and the Committee and his Norfolk friends provided an annuity for 
his declining years. He died in 1884. 

2 The Rev. H. A. Browne of Toft Newton. 


deputations ; and Switzerland and Italy were added to the 
itinerary. Familiar and interesting names are of frequent 
occurrence in the brief notes of these tours, and it is pleasant 
to observe how at Bordighera, year after year, the villa of 
Dr George Macdonald, the poet and novelist, was placed at 
the service of the Society.^ 

In his long wanderings Mr Edwards came on many things 
that were delightful to remember. He knew Grace Darling 
and her father ; and the last time he went to visit them, the 
old man — to whom the Committee had sent a Testament in 
large type the year before — had just died on the verge of 
fourscore. He held Bible meetings in the lighthouses on 
the Fern Islands, and founded an Association among the 
ruins of the Saxon priory on Lindisfarne. He visited the 
Auxiliary in Wensleydale, where the ancient custom was 
still observed of blowing the horn, "from Holy Rood till 
Shrovetide," to guide belated travellers through the forest — 
an apt figure of the Auxiliary's own work. At the old peel 
of Whitehall in Cumberland, the original, it is said, of 
Fairladies in Redgauntlet, he was the guest of George Moore, 
who had bought and restored the ruined tower which he 
scaled for birds' nests when a boy. At Penrith he used to 
meet Robert Gates, secretary of the Penrith Auxiliary, who 
for nearly half a century went out on horseback ' ' collecting 
for us," and who died in 1867, over fourscore years but active 
to the last. And at Ulpha, in the Duddon Valley, he was 
made welcome by Susan Wilson, probably the oldest Bible 
collector in England in her later time. Even on the verge of 
ninety she was still to be seen, staff in hand, making her 
rounds, but in 1879 — just before the jubilee of the Ulpha 
Association — the quaint old farmhouse where she had so 
often entertained deputation and District-secretary knew 
her no more. 

' As the result of one of these tours ^214 was collected in 1877, considerably 
more than double the amount obtained in any preceding year. Over £,21"] was 
realised in 1884, 


In the Report for 1882 we catch another glimpse of 
the ingenious and pretty devices so often employed for 
the benefit of the Society. At Christmas time a sale of 
work was held by the Juvenile Association of Leamington, 
Warwickshire. The centre of attraction was a beautiful 
model ship, the Evangeline, which had been made and pre- 
sented to the Association by a young man in the town. 
All the accessories of an Arctic vessel were reproduced in 
miniature ; it was illuminated with coloured lights ; and its 
hold was filled with merchandise, which in the course of 
the evening realised a net profit of j^(^. Nearly a quarter of 
a century has gone by, but to many the ship Evangeline will 
still recall Bishop Ridley's experiences in his newly-formed 
diocese of Caledonia in British Columbia.^ A few days after 
his arrival he started with nine Indians on a voyage of a 
hundred miles in a hollow-tree canoe, and they were as nearly 
lost in a gale as saved men could be. "Unless I get a 
steamer," he wrote home to the Church Missionary Society, 
"a new bishop will soon be wanted ; " and in the autumn of 
1 88 1 the Evangeline was making her first trip from Vancouver 
to the Skeena River. 

With a brief note on the progress in Wales, we conclude 
our survey of the work of the District-secretaries. As far 
back as 1864 Dr Phillips thought that there was little room 
left for the formation of new Associations in the Principality, 
and that the hope of any increase of funds lay chiefly in the 
greater efficiency of existing organisations. At his death, as 
we have seen, he left 438 Auxiliaries and Associations, with 
a free income of ;^668o, a purchase account of £ib'j\, and 
subscriptions from the Cambrian Societies amounting to 
more than ;^7oo. During the next thirteen years remark- 
able progress was made in both districts, and notwithstand- 
ing severe agricultural depression, closing of mines, collapse 

' The Bishop was one of the speakers at the anniversary meeting in 1903, and 
his bright and telling address will long be remembered by those who heard it. 


of coast traffic, and the local burdens of new churches, 
chapels, and schools, the period closed with the following 
figures: — 771 Auxiliaries and Associations, a free income of 
;^8863, a purchase account of ;^39io, and £757 in sub- 
scriptions from the Cambrian Societies.^ 

One of Lord Shaftesbury's happiest recollections was his 
reception by the Welsh people. It was on the anniversary 
of the Carnarvon Auxiliary, i6th October 1879. Special 
trains were run in all directions, and hundreds of people 
came in from miles around ; the shops were closed early in the 
afternoon ; the aged President, welcomed by the Mayor and 
the local committee, was escorted through streets lined with 
thousands of Sunday-school children to the vast pavilion 
erected for the Eisteddfodau, where in the evening he 
addressed a meeting of 7000 Welsh Bible-folk. 

The Cymric love of the Word of God never failed. Go 
out in the dark and the rain with the brave colliers who act 
as collectors. There is a lonely cottage on the bleak hill- 
side. Old Sioned will welcome you, kindle a rushlight, and 
bring out her small savings of a few pence: "You must 
take them now. I don't think it any hardship to eat dry 
bread for a day or two, to do my little in such a glorious 
cause." Is it strange that among such people Anglesea gave 
4|d., and Merioneth nearly 5d. a head, while some of the 
wealthiest cities of England were content to give a fraction 
of a id. ? 

In all, forty-one men filled the position of District-secretary 
during the thirty years. We cannot leave them without at 
least a passing reference to some of the colporteurs who 
contributed to the success of their labours. There was 
William Webb, who traversed the Midlands for nearly thirty 
years ; Watson Rolley, who explored the three Ridings for 
five-and-twenty ; Eccles, who travelled with a free pass over 

1 1883 was an unfavourable year for comparison ; the Cambrian Societies con- 
tributed ;^88s in 1877, ;^87i in 1881, and £92$ in 1882. 


the lines of the North Western, Great Northern, and Eastern 
Counties, and in ten years realised ;^2i73 by the sale of 
84, 242 copies ; and — to name but these — Roger Haydock 
of Blackburn, who joined the Society in 1857 and lived to 
see the Centenary ; William Mills of Lutterworth, who in 
the first thirteen years of his service made 1,062,233 calls 
(an average of 261 every day in the year except Sunday), 
and sold 44,947 Bibles and Testaments. 



Outside the wide range described in the preceding pages 
there were a thousand points at which the Society touched 
the life of the nation, and numberless incidents testified to 
the deep interest with which its work was regarded. 

Eight times during these thirty years the Committee pre- 
sented the Bible as a bridal gift to the sons and daughters 
of Queen Victoria ^ — an old custom revived on the Continent 
by several of the foreign Bible Societies during her Majesty's 
girlhood. The first recipient was the Princess Royal, in 
January 1858, on her marriage to the Crown Prince of 
Germany ; and five-and-twenty years later the Committee 
were permitted to offer the congratulations and good wishes 
of the Society on the celebration of the silver wedding of 
their Imperial Highnesses at Berlin. Twice the respectful 
and loyal sympathy of the Society was conveyed to her 
Majesty — in 1861 on the lamented loss of H.R.H. the Prince 
Consort, and in 1884 on the death of Prince Leopold. 

In September 1859 the return of the M'Clintock Expedi- 
tion — the twenty-first that had penetrated the icy recesses of 
the North in search of that old Bibleman, Sir John Franklin 
— solved the mystery which had so long overhung the fate 
of the old friend of the Bible Society. Among the relics 
which were brought back was the sea-stained fragment of a 
Bible, in which "a tremulous line had been drawn beneath 

1 To the Princess Royal in 1858 ; Princess Alice in October 1862 ; the Prince of 
Wales in March 1863 ; Princess Helena (Princess Christian) in June i866 ; Princess 
Louise in March 1871 ; the Duke of Edinburgh in 1874 ; the Duke of Connaught in 
1879 ; and Prince Leopold in 1882. 



the words of Eli—' It is the Lord, let Him do what seemeth 
Him good.'" 

At the May meeting of 1862 the President announced a 
contribution of ;^5o from Lord Palmerston, who had given 
the hearty assurance — " I am most happy to do anything I 
can for your admirable institution." With Mr Percival 
Lord Liverpool, and Lord Goderich (afterwards Earl of 
Ripon), Viscount Palmerston was the fourth British Prime 
Minister who had publicly supported the Society. 

In the Great Exhibition in 185 1 the Society was assigned 
a place solely on the ground of its services to science. 
With much reluctance the Commissioners of the Inter- 
national Exhibition of 1862 conceded its claim to admittance, 
and it was not until considerable pressure had been brought 
to bear that a creditable position was granted for the price- 
less ancient MSS. and the numerous versions of that divine 
Book which alone can realise the poet's dream of the break- 
ing of mailed fleets and armed towers.^ 

In 1863 the Society had for the first time three Arch- 
bishops simultaneously on its roll of Vice - Presidents — 
Longley of Canterbury, Thomson of York, and Whately of 
Dublin ; but the auspicious conjunction was of brief dura- 
tion, for in October that year the Archbishop of Dublin 

On the 6th November 1866 — a sharp, windy day of bright 
sunshine — a monument to Tindale's memory ^ was solemnly 
inaugurated, in the presence of thousands of spectators, on 
the high summit of Nibley Knoll in Gloucestershire.^ " We 

' Tennyson, Ode sung at the Opening of the International Exhibition. 

^ In the only specimen of his handwriting known to exist, Tindale spelt his name 
with an i. See the signature subscribed to his letter to the Governor of Vilvorde in 
the winter of 1535, when he was a prisoner in the castle. A photograph of the letter, 
by Francis Fry of Bristol, is preserved in the Society's Library, and there is a facsimile 
in Demaus' Life of Tindale (Religious Tract Society, 1886). 

' The foundation-stone had been laid in 1863 by Lord Fitzhardinge of Berkeley 
Castle. The repairs needed after thirty years' weathering in the salt winds from the 
Bristol Channel were defrayed from a restoration fund raised among the friends of the 
Society in 1896, and the care of the monument was committed to a new body of 


were near the scene of the martyr's birth," wrote Mr Hewlett, 
the District-secretary, who took part in the presentation of 
Bibles to every man and boy who had been employed on the 
work. "A few miles distant, in one direction, was the 
Manor House, where, residing as tutor, he first conceived 
the grand idea which has made his name immortal ; in 
another were, almost visible, the towers of Berkeley, within 
which, before Wycliffe had commenced his noble labours, 
John Trevisa, a native of Cornwall, made a translation of the 
Scriptures at the request of his patron, the fourth Earl. 
Looking in the direction of Bristol, we could not but think 
of the ancient church of Aust, held for some years by 
Wycliffe himself. Gloucester, not many miles distant in the 
opposite direction, recalled the name of Myles Smith, bishop 
of that see, and one of the venerable translators of our 
Authorised Version. Nibley Knoll was indeed the right 
place for the erection of such a monument." 

Gleanings for the Young, a small quarterly magazine record- 
ing many attractive incidents in the Society's work, was 
started in January 1869, and ran for nine years. A new 
series, enlarged and more effectively illustrated, began in 
January 1878. It appeared every alternate month in that 
year, but in the following it became a regular monthly. 
The Monthly Extracts, which dated from August 181 7, and 
the Bible Society Reporter, started in 1841, were superseded 
in June 1858 by the Monthly Reporter. Like its predecessors 
it consisted as a rule of eight pages a number, but in January 
1882 it was enlarged to sixteen, in a new series which con- 
tained various articles of interest in addition to the usual 
excerpts from home and foreign correspondence. 

In 1872 an unspeakable sorrow befell Lord Shaftesbury 
in the death of his dearly-loved wife, his companion and 
counsellor for forty-two years. She entered into rest on the 
15th October, and in the following December his daughter 
Lady Constance. Ashley was also taken from him. Against 


this double bereavement he bore up with Christian fortitude, 
but he was never again the same man. 

On the 2oth July 1874 the large and striking picture, 
"Luther's First Study of the Bible," by Edward Matthew 
Ward, R.A.,1 the well-known historical painter, was formally 
presented to the Society in the name of a large body of 
subscribers. It represents the Reformer as a young monk, 
in the library of the monastery at Erfurt. He has laid aside a 
crimson volume of the Lives of the Saints, broken the spider- 
web spun across the neglected shelf on which the Bible stood, 
and is absorbed in his discovery of the Word of Life. 

Two months later — 21st September — the members of the 
Oriental Congress visited the Bible House, and were intro- 
duced to the treasures of the Library. In the preceding year 
the Society had received a diploma and medal from the 
Congress, during its session in Paris, in consideration of its 
services in the way of Oriental printing. "An impression 
was evidently made upon these learned men," wrote an eye- 
witness, " that while the Congress was studying knotty points 
of literary and ethnological interest, the British and Foreign 
Bible Society was practically solving them." 

The portrait of the Earl of Shaftesbury, commissioned for 
presentation to the Bible House by members of the Committee 
and other friends, was painted by Millais, and exhibited at 
the Academy of 1878 — "one of the most conspicuous examples 
of Millais' occasionally deep insight into character, and one 
of his most successful portraits."^ 

On the 1 2th September in the same year, Cleopatra's 
Needle was erected on the Victoria Embankment, and in a 
cavity in the pedestal, on the invitation of Mr Dixon, the 
engineer, the Society deposited various copies of the 

^ Mr Ward, who painted for the corridor of the House of Commons a series of 
eight frescoes, which included "The Execution of Montrose" and "The Last Sleep 
of Argyll," died in 1879. 

'^ Spielmann, Millais and his Work. 


Scriptures in the jars containing memorials of Great Britain 
in the nineteenth century. 

In 1 88 1 a deputation from the Committee presented Lord 
Shaftesbury with a copy of the Bible on his eightieth 

In the same year died George Borrow, once the Society's 
agent in Russia and Spain. ^ 

The Report for 1881 drew attention to the completion of 
the Revised Version of the New Testament. The first 
provision of the constitution restricted the Society to the 
circulation of the Authorised Version, but, it was stated, 
the desirability of so far modifying the rule as to include 
the new version was being carefully discussed by the Com- 
mittee. The question proved to be one of greater difficulty 
than had been anticipated, and twenty years elapsed before 
a decision was reached. 

One of the projects of the Jubilee Year, it may be re- 
membered, was the establishment of a Benevolent Fund, 
from which provision should be made for old servants, and 
temporary relief given to their widows and orphans. A sum 
of ;^ 10,000 from the Jubilee Fund, and contributions amount- 
ing to ;^25oo, were invested for the purpose, and during the 
period frequent appeals were made to secure an adequate 
income to meet these responsibilities. In 1881 the Committee 
published a scheme under which a large proportion of the 
Society's employees, at home and abroad, might bank as 
much as 12 per cent, of their salaries on an interest of 
4 per cent. 

From the beginning the Committee had taken advantage 
of every opportunity to place the Scriptures within the means 
of all classes. In 1883 and 1884 considerable reductions 
were again made in the price of various editions for the 
benefit of children, the poor, the aged, and the sick. These 

' In 1904 Mrs M'Oubrey, Southtown, Sufifolk, left the Society ;^loo, "in 
remembrance of the great interest my dear father, George Henry Borrow, took in 
the success of the great work." 


measures excited certain critics to a revival of the charges 
of " sweating " which had been completely disproved in the 
past ; ^ and after a strict investigation these new slanders 
were declared to be equally unfounded. 

Another incident may here be briefly noticed. As far 
back as 1839 an official answer had been given to the 
charge that versions derived from the Vulgate were unworthy 
to be called the Word of God, and that in supplying 
Roman Catholics with these — the only versions recognised 
by the mass of the people in Roman Catholic countries 
— the Society was not faithful to its trust.^ The subject was 
opened afresh in 1856, and the Report for 1857 contained 
a resolution to the effect that "the Committee saw no 
adequate reason for departing from the practice which has 
hitherto been followed," together with an array of testimonies 
from the Continental Agents, the committee of the French 
and Foreign Bible Society, and influential members of 
Protestant communities abroad, confirming the wisdom of 
this decision. In 1869 and the following year there was 
an effort to revive the controversy ; the subject was forced 
upon all the principal Auxiliaries, and organised attempts 
were made at some of their annual meetings to divide 
opinion on the Version question. This served but to 
strengthen the position of the Committee, who received from 
many quarters an express approval of their adhesion to 
the principles of 1839, and from the Auxiliaries in general 
an intimation that they were content to leave the matter 
to their discretion. 

Gladly we turn to the hosts of friends whose names 
illumine the annals of the Society. So large was their 
number that in these pages we can do but scant justice to 
their generous and unfailing loyalty. At the close of these 
volumes place will be found for the names of those most inti- 
mately connected with its deliberations and its undertakings. 
> See vol. ii. p. is8». ^ Vol. ii. pp. 154-156. 


In 1858, at the age of eighty-eight, passed away William 
Akers Hankey, one of the " three hundred persons of various 
religious denominations " who assembled in the Pillar Room 
of the London Tavern on the 7th March 1804. A few months 
later, on a Sabbath morning, 29th May 1859, in his eighty- 
sixth year, died Dr Steinkopff, the last survivor of that little 
band. He was laid to rest in Norwood Cemetery, and the 
Rev. Daniel Wilson, the beloved vicar of Islington, who 
had been present at the funeral of Mr Hughes, officiated at 
his grave. In the same year the Society lost the Rev. John 
Angell James, who for fifty-three years had been one of the 
secretaries of the Birmingham Association, and of whom it 
was written, "Good men of all denominations loved him, 
for he loved the universal Church far better than any 
section of it."^ 

In 1861 died a Life Governor, the Rev. John W. 
Cunningham of Harrow, the friend of Wilberforce and 
Simeon, of Legh Richmond and Joseph John Gurney ; on 
the 6th September 1862 a Vice - President, Archbishop 
Sumner, who had become a member of the Society when 
it was " not above two or three years old," and who declared 
in the April preceding his decease that his sentiments were 
"the same as he had held for more than fifty years." 

In 1820, in the time of the first President, and while 
Owen and Hughes were still Secretaries, Thomas Farmer 
of Gunnersbury joined the Committee. He served continu- 
ously for thirty-seven years, preserving the tradition of the 
early days and the memory of the founders. On his retire- 
ment in 1859 he became a Vice-President, and on the nth 
May 1862 he was released from the growing infirmities of 
age. Hidden away in the Lists of Contributors there occur 
entries which suggest the piety of a Christian home now 
long forgotten. In the early thirties you will find the names 
of Mr and Mrs Farmer, Miss S. S., Miss Jane, Miss Ellen, 

^ Stoughton, History of Religion in England, vol. vii. p. 246. 


Miss Elizabeth, Miss M. B. Up to 1869 this good family 
at Gunnersbury had contributed ;^4469. 

Among other friends who departed in this decade were 
Canon Hugh Stowell, whose first speech on behalf of the 
Society was delivered in the Isle of Man before he was 
twenty, and whose anniversary addresses long afterwards 
aroused his audiences to enthusiasm ; John Radley of 
Denmark Hill, a member of Committee for thirty - eight 
years, and author of the Jubilee volume, The Providence of 
God traced in the Origin and Progress of the Bible Society ; 
and Dr Macbride, Principal of Magdalen Hall, Oxford, the 
sole survivor of the fellowship of six who formed the Oxford 
and Oxfordshire Auxiliary in 18 14, and an Honorary Life 
Governor for five-and-forty years. 

On the ist October 1869, at Rose Castle, the Bishop of 
Carlisle breathed his last. By his bedside stood his old 
friend and tutor. Archbishop Tait, who had arrived just in 
time to say the commendatory prayer. While rector of 
Barford and canon of Salisbury, Dr Waldegrave had been 
a warm friend of the cause ; in 1863, 1867, and the following 
year he spoke at the anniversary in Exeter Hall ; but he 
never appeared more happy in his service than when, 
"lantern in hand, he led the way to the village gathering 
and pleaded for the wider circulation of the Word of Life." 

In 1870 Josiah Forster of Tottenham was the oldest 
member of the Committee, to which he had been elected in 
1826. Except in 1840, when he accompanied Elizabeth Fry 
on her crusade among the prisons of Belgium, Holland, 
and Germany, and in 1846 and 1854, when other important 
missions took him abroad, he had served continuously ; and 
in 1869 he was appointed a Vice-President. In his eighty- 
eighth year his mental activity and his interest in the work 
were unabated, and a week before his death, in June 1870, 
he was in communication with the Bible House. 

On Northernhay, the pleasant promenade under the old 
VOL. in. E 


red wall of Rougemont Castle, the visitor to Exeter might 
have seen in 1862, as he may see to-day, the statue of Sir 
Thomas Dyke Acland, an old Bible worthy who had been 
a Vice-President since 182 1. Sir Thomas was still alive 
(" Praesenti tibi matures largimur honores," ran the legend 
on the statue), and it was not until 1871 that the beloved 
baronet died, suddenly, in his eighty-fourth year. 

The statue of another Vice - President, unveiled at 
Darlington in 1875 at the celebration of the Railway Jubilee, 
three years after his death, preserves the face and figure of 
Joseph Pease, the first Quaker M.P. On the eve of the 
Crimean war he was one of the deputation from the Peace 
Society, founded by his father, who urged pacific measures 
on the Czar. A man of strong intelligence and broad 
Christian philanthropy ; ever ready to promote the welfare 
of his fellow-men. Old and blind, he still appeared on 
the platform to urge on the great work of circulating the 

Two memorable deaths marked the beginning of 1873 : 
on the 13th January, in his seventy-seventh year, Henry 
Venn;^ on the 19th January, in his seventy-fourth, the 
Hon. and Rev. Baptist Noel. " The death of Mr Venn," it 
was written at the time, "will be talked of in many an 
African hut, in many an Indian bazaar ; but all that is best 
and truest of English Christianity will mourn by the grave of 
Baptist Noel." No one was better able than the eminent 

1 The record of the Venns as a clerical family dates back to the last years of 
Elizabeth. William Venn was vicar of Otterton from 1600 to 1621, and his son and 
his grandson Dennis held livings in Devon. The grandson of Dennis vfas Henry 
Venn (1725-97), the famous Evangelical vicar of Huddersfield, and the lifelong 
friend of John Thornton. Henry's daughter Eling vi^as the mother of Charlotte 
Elliott, author of Hymns for a Week, Hours of Sorrow, and of the familiar lyric 
"Just as I am" ; his son John (1759- 181 3) was rector of Clapham, the intimate of the 
Evangelical circle sketched in our first volume, and one of the founders of the Church 
Missionary Society. John Venn had two sons — Henry (1796-1873), whose death we 
have noticed above, and who for thirty years was secretary of the Church Missionary 
Society ; John, vicar of St Peter's, Hereford, and president of the Hereford Auxiliary ; 
and five daughters, one of whom, Jane, married Sir James Stephen, and became the 
mother of Sir James Fitzjames and his brother Leslie Stephen. — See Venn, Annals of 
a Clerical Family, 

i884] GEORGE MOORE 67 

secretary of the Church Missionary Society to appreciate the 
work of the Bible Society, and as Joccasion offered he urged 
its claims with the eloquence of a large experience. 

August 15th, 1874, Charles Richard Sumner, Bishop of 
Winchester, passed away in his eighty-third year. He had 
been an active and eloquent Vice-President as early as 1826, 
when he was raised to the see of Llandaff, and during the 
brief years of infirmity which followed his resignation his 
interest in the Society was unflagging. Bible Day was held 
in honour at Farnham Castle ; and clergy and laity assembled 
in the great hall, and afterwards visited the summit of the 
keep, which had been laid out as a flower-garden by this 
"last of the Prince-Bishops." 

On the 26th November 1876, while on his way to a 
benevolent meeting, George Moore was knocked down by 
a runaway horse in the streets of Carlisle. He was carried 
insensible into the Grey Goat Inn — under its roof, some 
fifty years before, he had slept as a friendless lad setting out 
to seek his fortune — and there, while anxious crowds waited 
silently before the house, he breathed his last. A man of 
such inspiring personality and trusted ability that he was 
charged with the relief of Paris at the close of the terrible 
siege. His first contact with the Society appears to have 
taken place in 1845, when he became an annual subscriber 
of a guinea. In 1862, 1867, and 1873 he served on the 
Committee, and in 1874 he was appointed a Vice-President. 
He circulated the Scriptures in thousands ; in the poorer 
parts of London, among the hills and valleys of Cumber- 
land. In his own district, for over twenty years he took the 
chair at the annual meetings, and secured the attendance 
of bishops, deans, and clergymen and ministers of other 
denominations. " I heartily wish," he wrote in his diary, 
"that they all belonged to one denomination — the universal 
Church of Christ." His donations and subscriptions 
amounted to ;^i634, and in accordance with his will a 


legacy of ^3000 was paid to the Society in 1877, and a 
second sum of £38^2 in 1884. 

In 1881 the names of Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, Dr W. 
Morley Punshon and Sir Charles Reed, M.P., disappeared 
from the list of living Vice-Presidents. 

Six vacancies occurred in the list in 1882. Early in the 
year died William Coles of Dorking. His connection with 
the Society began in 1847 ; in 1856 he joined the Committee, 
on which he served for twenty-five years consecutively ; and 
in 1 88 1 he became a Vice-President. Reference has already 
been made to the lively interest he took in the early history 
of the Society,^ and in the preparation of the touching little 
book, Tke Story of Mary Jones and Her Bible, which was 
published in the December following his death. During his 
life his subscriptions and donations came to ;^5438, and 
by a curious coincidence the sums received under his will 
amounted to ;^5437, making a total of ;^io,875. 

The second Earl of Harrowby had reached the ripe age 
of eighty-four when his call came on the 19th of November, 
As Lord Sandon he had been appointed a Vice-President in 
1842 ; for five years his name stood on the list beside that of 
his father, the first Earl ; for thirty-four years more it stood 
alone, and on his death its place was taken by that of his 
son, the third Earl. 

Archbishop Tait departed on Advent Sunday, 3rd 
December ; and a few days later the concourse of mourners 
of many denominations around his grave in Addington 
churchyard testified to the breadth of his Christianity. His 
career as a great Churchman coincided with this period of 
the history of the Society, and his sympathy with its purpose 
was unconsciously reflected in his estimate of his own work : 
' ' How far I have failed and fallen short God knows, but I 

' See vol. i. p. 467. Here it may be mentioned that in 1875 the memory of the 
Rev. Thomas Charles was honoured by the erection in Bala of a white marble statue 
which showed him robed in his preaching gown, and offering a Bible in his out- 
stretched hand. 


did try to teach the plain Gospel, and to make others do it 
too." Before a fortnight had elapsed Dean Close too had 
passed away — the steadfast friend of seventy years, who 
began his work as a lad of fifteen by collecting weekly 
pennies for the Hull Auxiliary in 181 2. 

On the sth July 1883 died the seventh Duke of Marl- 
borough, who as Marquis of Blandford had accepted the 
position of Vice-President in 1849. 

One omits with regret the familiar names of old families 
like the Buxtons, the Barclays, the Foxes of Falmouth, the 
Peases of Darlington, the Bardsleys, the Peckovers of 
Wisbech, the Upchers of Sherringham, with whom love of 
the Bible Society became a tradition ; the names of old 
friends, old presidents and secretaries of Auxiliaries of thirty, 
forty, fifty years' standing, like the Rev. John Bartlett of 
Marnwood Hall near Madeley, the Rev. V. F. Vyvyan 
of Withiel, William Joyson of Sale, Mr Lewis of the Fish- 
guard committee, and Jasper Atkinson and his daughter 
of Maidenhead, who entertained the deputations to the 
Auxiliary for sixty-eight years in succession. Neither may 
we linger over the long Lists of Contributors which contain 
so many curious and pathetic clues of personal history. 

So, too, with the schedules of Legacies, each a testimony 
to the living power of the Bible. In more than twenty 
instances the bequests of the period ranged from ^^4000 
to j^iS,ooo;^ but it was the thousands of smaller benefac- 
tions which made the Legacies so important a part of the 
Society's income. With regard to most of these gifts we 
know nothing but the names of the donors ; now and then, 
however, we catch a glimpse of the spiritual life behind 
the name. In the Report for 1870 a single line records a 
donation of ;^3300 from "Thomas Jones, Esq., Caer-groes, 

' Here it may be mentioned that in 1872 stock valued at ;^20,ooo was placed in 
trust by Thomas William Hill of Bristol, chairman of the Taff Vale Railway. The 
interest, which was to be appropriated after his death, became available three years 


near Ruthin"; in that of 1871 we find that the sum has 
grown to ;^356o ; in 1873 there is an acknowledgment of 
part payment of a legacy which amounted to ;^2077. We 
should know no more of this generous supporter were it not 
for a passage in Mr Lewis the District-secretary's account 
of North Wales for 1872. No name is given, but the dates 
and figures establish identity. 

"A few weeks ago a Welshman died, aged eighty- four. Under his will 
the Bible Society will receive the handsome sum of ^2000, probably more ; 
and a like sum is to be bequeathed to the Welsh Calvinistic Methodists, 
the religious body to which he belonged. With the exception of a few 
trifling legacies to distant relatives and friends, these two bequests com- 
prised the whole of his property. It is estimated that his previous con- 
tributions to the funds of the Society during his lifetime must have exceeded 
;£40oo. He lived almost penuriously in very humble lodgings, for which he 
paid about six shillings a week ; and the only article of value belonging to 
him was his watch and chain. Here appears to be a man who indeed cast 
into the divine treasury ' all that he had, even all his living.' He seems to 
have denied himself everything but the mere necessaries of life, in order to 
devote all that he had to promote the efficiency of the two great institutions 
to whose influence he attributed the spiritual prosperity of his fellow- 

It is from such details as these that we best understand 
how deeply the love of the Bible Society had rooted itself in 
the hearts of the people — from such as these, and from those 
brief notes which speak of the helpfulness of the poorest, the 
thanksgivings of grateful hearts, the cottager's honey, the 
fisherman's turbot, the '' Bible Corner" of the labourer's field, 
the " Bible flowers," the milk of the " Bible cows," the savings 
of the servant girl, the collections of the ferryman and the 
blind soldier, the bags of farthings hoarded by hard-working 
women, the gifts of children. In i860 we read of a little 
English girl who lived at Peterchurch, in the Golden Valley, 
Herefordshire. She was blind, and when the gleaners went 
into the harvest fields they took her with them. Working 
busily, this little Ruth gathered many small sheaves of 
wheat, which she succeeded in selling for los. By making a 
special bargain for the straw she obtained another 6d., and 


then she went cheerily about with her Bible-box until she 
collected ids. more. When her contribution was announced 
at the annual meeting of the Ladies' Auxiliary, her face 
"brightened up with a pleasant smile," and many a heart 
was deeply touched.^ 

For one more child-memory belonging to these years 
we must find a place. In the jubilee year of the Church 
Missionary Society (1848-49) a babe was born at the vicarage 
of St Erth, Cornwall. From his cradle he was dedicated to 
the service of God in the mission field, and the little son 
grew up a child of gracious promise, till he had reached 
his ninth year. Then sorrow fell on the house at St Erth ; 
within three weeks the boy and a little sister were carried 
off by diphtheria. Yet even in that grievous loss and in 
the trials that followed, the parents were so sustained and 
comforted that they longed to make some thank-offering. 
The mission-child was gone, but his work remained, and 
they could help others to do it in his stead. They deter- 
mined to collect a million pence, to be divided between the 
Church Missionary Society and the Bible Society. Rich and 
poor were invited to contribute ; year by year the collecting 
went quietly on, and part of the proceeds was sent in to the 
Bible House. The vicar died, but in her new home near 
Falmouth his widow continued the work. In the Census years 
1 86 1, 1 87 1, and 1881, special appeals were made, and the sub- 
scriptions were increased to the extent of some hundreds of 
pounds. The story runs beyond the period, for in 1891 Mrs 
Punnett made her fourth Census appeal. The little mission- 
ary had been forty-three years in his grave, but who can 
tell how many souls the living memory of him may have 

^ Twenty-six years go by. The little blind gleaner is a poor blind woman, 
afflicted, and unable to cross the threshold. The Bible is her light and consolation ; 
and when the Peterchurch meeting comes round in the autumn of l886 she applies to 
the deputation for a copy of the Psalms in the type for the blind. Her childish 
gleaning has not been forgotten ; it is remembered, too, that from 1863-77 her 
Bible-box brought in an average of £5 ; one conceives with what feelings her wishes 
are granted. 


helped to lead to Christ in the fields he never saw with 
earthly eyes? 

If the people proved their steadfast affection for the 
Society, the Society on its part never forgot the people. In 
the hour of need and distress, disaster and war, its help and 
sympathy never failed, either at home or abroad. Of its 
many kind and thoughtful acts, however, one only shall be 
mentioned here. In the year 1877, on the loth April, occurred 
the terrible flooding of the Tynewydd pit in the Rhondda 
Valley near Pontypridd. The day's work was done, and the 
men were making their way to the shaft, when suddenly every 
narrow lane and alley of the pit became a rushing stream. 
After those who had been able to struggle through the maze 
of waters had been drawn to the surface, it was found that 
fourteen were missing. A rescue party was at once made 
up ; but what hope of success was there ? Though the shaft 
was clear, each roadway into the depths of the workings 
was choked with water to the crown of the arch. Then a 
sound was heard which filled their hearts with joy and hope. 
It was a faint knocking that came from behind a wall of coal 
thirty feet thick. All through the night, man after man, they 
hewed a passage through that dense barrier, and four of the 
missing miners were saved and taken to the surface. For 
two days all was silence, desperation, and sorrow. On the 
evening of the second day a knocking was again heard, faint, 
from an almost hopeless distance. Attempts were made to 
pump out the mine, to send divers through the flooded road- 
ways. These failed, and it was determined to cut a passage 
forty yards through the solid. On the tenth day of their 
imprisonment five more men were rescued, and as the last 
was brought to the bank a message was received — "The 
Queen is very anxious. Are they saved ? " Her Majesty 
conferred on the rescuers the Albert Medal, which had 
hitherto been bestowed only for gallantry in saving life 
at sea. Bibles, containing an inscription signed by Lord 


Shaftesbury, the President, were prepared for presentation 
to the men who had been rescued, to those who had laboured 
to save them, and to the widows of those who lost their 

The books were distributed at the annual meeting of 
the Pontypridd Auxiliary on the 13th June. In the open 
air, on the hill overlooking the town and the river, three 
thousand persons gathered near the Maen Chwyf, the grey 
rocking-stone beside which from time immemorial bards and 
minstrels had held their sessions. The speakers thanked 
God that the people of Wales still loved their Bible, and 
that the truths of the divine Book had proved their power 
in the pit. It was told how, in the hour of their dread, 
the buried miners had known where to seek for help, and 
instead of yielding to dumb despair, had found comfort in 
singing the old Welsh hymn — 

" Yn y dyfroedd mawr a'r tonau " — 
[" In the great and surging waters."] 

Then every man bared his head, and in the last light of the 
summer sunset there rose from that large assemblage the 
thrilling music which had been sung in the darkness of the 
flooded mine. When the Bibles had been presented, and 
David Jenkins, one of the colliers last rescued, had come 
forward, and in a voice trembling with emotion thanked 
"the old Society" on behalf of his comrades and himself, 
there fell a silence " which was something awful in its effect 
upon the minds of those present." 



A BRIEF reference must now be made to the three national 
Bible Societies which sprang from the British and Foreign. 

The Hibernian Bible Society entered on its fiftieth year 
on the nth April 1855. The celebration was attended by 
the Rev. S. B. Bergne, who presented in the name of the 
Committee a contribution of one hundred guineas to its 
special jubilee fund. When the society was founded in 1806 
there were not a dozen towns in Ireland besides the capital 
in which the Bible could be purchased ; now there were 
511 Auxiliaries, each with its well-stocked depot, scattered 
over the country, and hawkers and colporteurs were making 
the sacred books familiar in the wilds of Kerry and Donegal. 

Four years later (1859) the Hibernian ceased to be what 
the Bishop of Cashel called "a real Irish Auxiliary" — an 
Auxiliary which got help instead of giving it. Its executive 
was authorised to forward to the Bible House any surplus 
that remained after making provision for the needs of the 
country, so that Ireland too might bear its share in the 
evangelisation of the world. A gift of ;^30o was sent at 
once, and up to 1884, notwithstanding the fierce political 
agitation and the agrarian disorders of the time, these con- 
tributions amounted to ;^9300, and were from time to time 
supplemented by donations from Cork and Belfast. In 1867 
it also took the place of the parent Society in relation to 
the Sunday School Society for Ireland, which had done so 
much for the education and spiritual enlightenment of the 



people. In 1884 the issues of the Hibernian Bible Society 
amounted to 65,663 for the thirty years, and to 4,584,000 
from its beginning. 

During the interval which preceded the establishment 
of the National Bible Society of Scotland in 1861 the old 
relations with the North were maintained, as far as possible, 
by the Rev. William Swan, who succeeded Dr Paterson 
as the honorary representative of the parent Society in 1851, 
by Dr Norman Macleod, and by Mr Low of Greenock. In 
particular the Committee took a deep interest in the poor 
of the Highlands. Until his death in 1857 Mr Low laboured 
among the ships of all nations which put in to the estuary ; 
boarded emigrant vessels and the coast steamers trading with 
the Western Isles and the Highland ports ; and carried on 
colportage among the Gaelic-speaking families of the fisher 
villages and the nearer glens and lochsides of Argyll and 
Dumbarton. Between 1854 and 1862 ji^iogi was voted to 
Scotland ; after that time the good-will of the Committee 
could only be shown by their readiness to co-operate with 
the Scottish National Society in more distant fields. 

On the 6th July 1855 the Society's early agent Dr 
Paterson, who had done such splendid pioneer work on the 
Continent, passed away at the age of seventy-nine. Nearly 
four years later, his friend and colleague, Dr Henderson, 
died on the i6th May 1859 in his seventy-fifth year. At 
the same age William Swan, who had been enrolled among 
the Honorary Life Governors, died in Edinburgh on the 
ist January 1866. His name carries us back to the early 
mission days among the Buriat tribes in the region of Lake 
Baikal, and to the Mongolian version which he and Mr 
Stallybrass were toiling to complete when the mission was 
suppressed by the Russian Government in 1840. 

The Scottish Society throve rapidly. Its operations were 
extended to the Continent and to the remote East, and it 
bore its share in the arduous and costly work of translation. 


Reciprocal acts of courtesy and helpfulness drew the two 
great institutions together ; from time to time they were 
officially represented on each other's platforms ; and if ever 
reference was made to the disruption caused by the 
Apocrypha controversy, it was to thank God that the bitter- 
ness of those bygone years had been forgotten in the 
common labour of diffusing the Scriptures throughout the 

We have already spoken of the misery caused in 
Lancashire by the civil war in America. In that terrible 
struggle between North and South the resources of the 
American Bible Society were taxed to the uttermost. 
Although its steam-presses were capable of printing twelve 
copies every working minute, there were times when the 
demand from the Army could not be satisfied. During the 
four years 2,000,000 Bibles, Testaments, and Portions were 
circulated among the Army and Navy of the North. In 
spite of the fiery resentment which occasionally led to the 
Bible being intercepted as contraband of war, the American 
Bible Society succeeded in sending large supplies, under 
flag of truce, into the Confederate lines ; and the Scriptures 
which were distributed among the troops of the South, in 
the field or in hospital and prison, amounted to 3,000,000 
volumes. In 1862 the Committee in London placed at the 
disposal of the sister society a contribution of ;^200o. The 
assistance was gratefully declined, and that decision was 
amply justified by the liberality of the people of the States 
throughout the protracted conflict. But there were other 
ways in which, setting aside all political considerations and 
party prejudices, the executive of the British and Foreign 
Bible Society could show their solicitude for both sides. 
They despatched 15,000 volumes for the North ; in the 
South, where the limited stocks in the depots had been 
speedily exhausted, exceptional facilities were afforded to 
the new society which had been formed at Augusta for the 


whole Confederacy, and, in addition to other grants, 310,000 
Bibles, Testaments, and Portions were placed at the disposal 
of the Virginia Bible Society. 

There appears to have been at the time a grudging 
murmur against waste. "Wilful waste," declared one who 
had laboured in camp and on battle-field, " was, I believe, 
entirely unknown." " I have never seen a copy of the 
Scriptures wantonly destroyed or thrown away," wrote 
another. " I have seen a torn Bible on the battle-field 
sprinkled with blood ; that no soldier would take — it seemed 
too sacred, and it was buried with him who once possessed 
it. I have been astonished to find in field hospitals so many 
copies of the sacred Scriptures hidden away in the bosoms 
of poor wounded fellows, when everything else had been 
sacrificed to the Moloch of war. " After the bloody battle of 
Stone River a lad of nineteen was found against the stump of 
a tree. His eyes were open, but fixed in death ; his face was 
lit up with a smile ; his well-worn Bible was open, and his 
cold hand touched the passage: "Yea, though I walk 
through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no 
evil : for Thou art with me." 

At the anniversary meeting in Exeter Hall in 1866, two 
war Testaments were exhibited. One had been thrown away 
in the streets of Memphis, "but that Testament was picked 
up by another soldier, himself also careless and wicked, who 
was led, from the reading of it, to the foot of the Cross, 
where he found peace and joy. It was sent to the American 
Bible Society, who treasure it as a memento of the war." 
The other was an English book. It had run the blockade ; 
it had found its way to a Confederate, who had put it in his 
breast. A bullet had struck it, had passed through from the 
last chapter of the Revelation to the first of Matthew, and 
glancing off the second cover, had left the man unscathed. 

Peace ushered in the fiftieth year of the American Bible 
Society, and on the loth May 1866 the Rev. T. Phillips, 


senior District-secretary, and the Rev. Thomas Nolan of 
St Peter's, Regent Square, represented the British Society 
at its jubilee meeting in New York. As in the case of 
Dr Steinkopff at the British Jubilee, one survivor of the 
venerated band of its founders was present. Hoary with 
age and totally blind, but still erect in stature, Dr Spring 
Gardiner — a name beloved far beyond the limits of the States 
— stood on the platform, and delivered his last words of 
affectionate counsel and encouragement. After a solemn 
pause. Bishop M'llvaine of Ohio, one of the veterans of 
the cause, suggested, in a voice of deep emotion, that all 
should stand up in token of respect for the venerable friend 
who had just brought his public career to a close. Instantly 
the large assembly rose, and for some moments remained 
standing "in silence and in tears." 

Another gracious incident must be recorded. One of 
the events of this jubilee celebration was the electrotyping 
of editions of a new Arabic Bible, begun by Dr Eli Smith 
and revised and completed by Dr Van Dyck in 1864. It was 
the fruit of sixteen years of continuous labour, and it placed 
the Scriptures within reach of over 120,000,000 people. 
Duplicate sets of plates were voted as a free gift to the 
British and Foreign Bible Society, partly in fulfilment of a 
sacred duty, partly ' ' in recognition of that holy brotherhood 
in our glorious Bible-work, of which our British brethren 
were so generously and promptly mindful in those dark days 
when we were entering upon the struggle for our nation's life." 

During the thirty years the Scriptures purchased direct 
from the Bible House by the American Bible Society amounted 
to the value of ;^i5,286. 



Meanwhile, on the Continent, the Society's operations were 
drawn into unity by that momentous drama in which the 
dominant scenes were enacted at Solferino, at Sadowa, in 
the darkening Basilica of St Peter, and within the fiery circle 
around Sedan ; and our narrative will follow the sequences 
of events so strangely correlated and so far-reaching in their 

At the close of the Jubilee Year we left M. de Pressense 
in control of the operations in France, and Lieutenant Graydon 
busy in Switzerland and Northern Italy. At Frankfort-on- 
the-Main Dr Pinkerton was the time-honoured representative 
of the Society from the Rhine to the Russian frontier. In 
that vast district, however, two energetic colleagues were 
gradually relieving him of two-thirds of his heavy charge. 
At Cologne Mr N. B. Millard, who had succeeded Mr Tiddy, 
was taking in the provinces of the north and west; in the 
east, his brother Edward Millard, who had been expelled 
from Austrian territory, had made Breslau the centre of a 
new field of distribution. 

In 1854 active intercourse with Poland was suspended. 
Thirty-eight years had gone by since Dr Pinkerton had 
appealed in Warsaw to the Czar Alexander I., and his 
Majesty had sanctioned the establishment of the Polish 
Bible Society, with himself as its head. From 1832 the 
Warsaw depot had been managed by the missionaries of 
the London Society for the Conversion of the Jews, and 



26,273 copies of Scripture in Polish, German, Hebrew, and 
other languages had been put into circulation. Now the 
missionaries were banished by the Russian Government, 
though, happily, the ukase did not include the removal of 
the sacred books, and the stock of 4000 volumes was 
disposed of to the Consistory of the Lutheran Church. 

The work of the Frankfort Agency was mostly conducted 
through correspondents — about one hundred in number — 
and some twenty religious associations and native Bible 
societies which had accepted the decision respecting the 
Apocrypha. In many places colportage was altogether 
forbidden ; in others it was beset with serious restrictions, 
and embarrassed by official antipathy. One day the col- 
porteur might be received in gracious audience by Princess 
or Grand Duke, welcomed by the police authorities, en- 
couraged by a Papal or a Protestant ecclesiastical counsellor ; 
on the next he might be driven from the door by the 
hostility of a Lutheran minister who repudiated a Bible 
without the Apocrypha, or by a priest who would not hear 
of the Bible at all. Still the Men with the Book went 
far afield. In summer they frequented the busy holiday 
resorts — Ems, Schwalbach, Baden-Baden, the watering- 
places in the romantic Taunus range ; at other seasons 
they travelled in Bavaria, Thuringia, the Hartz Mountains, 
East Prussia. 

In the autumn of 1855 Frederick William IV. visited 
the City of the Three Kings to lay the foundation-stone of 
a new bridge across the Rhine. The duodecimo German 
Bible had just left the Cologne press, and Mr Millard 
obtained an audience and presented a copy of it to his 
Majesty. "The King's Bible" sprang at once into popu- 
larity. In a few months 25,000 copies were exhausted, and 
an edition of 20,000 more was put to press. In 1856 
Cologne became an independent agency. Ten, fifteen 
colporteurs spread the Word of God, from Alsace to 


Holstein and Mecklenburg. The Lutherans insisted on 
the Apocrypha. At the cry of the priests ovens were heated 
for the destruction of "the Devil's Word"; screaming 
women and children mobbed the Bible-sellers in the street. 
Now and again a kindly priest helped the colporteur with 
his load or blessed his journeyings ; but, welcomed or 
repulsed, the intrepid men pursued their way, and the 
sales rose from 18,000 to 21,000, to 32,000 copies a year. 
Between 100,000 and 200,000 volumes were passing annually 
through the press at Cologne — in curious contrast with the 
perilous days when Tindale hastily gathered up the furtively 
printed sheets of his New Testament, and fled for safety in 
his boat from that old Popish city. 

In Silesia, Posen, East and West Prussia, Pomerania, 
Brandenburg, Mr Edward Millard encountered similar 
difficulties — Protestant clergy warned by the provincial 
consistories against the suppression of the Apocrypha, old 
friends estranged, bigoted schoolmasters who pointed out 
the colporteur to their scholars as "the man with the false 
Bibles " ; but here too a band of fifteen, the best of them 
sometime members of the Church of Rome, were at work 
among the strangely mixed population, and one heard 
of poor women trudging half a dozen miles to buy the 
Scriptures, of boys selling their skates in midwinter or 
platting straw mats to obtain the price of a Bible. In 1856 
the Breslau depot was placed in charge of a superintendent ; 
the agency was transferred to Berlin. Edward Millard made 
his first arrangement for printing, and his orders in the 
course of the year covered 120,000 Bibles and Testaments 
in five languages. 

In the summer of 1856 the old Berlin correspondent, Mr 
Eisner, who had devised the scheme for supplying the 
Prussian army with the Scriptures, died at the age of 
seventy-eight. He had long been blind, but had been able 
to continue his work with the aid of his son-in-law. Major 


Westphal, who, with the approval of the King of Prussia, 
now became his successor. From 1831, when the project 
was started, to January 1857, the Bibles and Testaments 
circulated among the troops amounted to 427,347 copies. 

Late in the same year (1857), with sight failing and the 
infirmities of age weighing heavy upon him, Pinkerton 
returned to England, released from his protracted service. 
Dr Paterson had just been laid in his grave ; four-and-forty 
years before, while the Grand Army was marching on 
Borodino, he and Paterson first met in Moscow to discuss 
plans for a Russian Bible Society. How the world had 
wagged since then ! The sacred earth beneath the weeping- 
willows had surrendered its dead, and Napoleon was sleeping 
at the Invalides in the huge tomb of Finland granite given 
by the Czar Nicholas. Nicholas too was gone, and a second 
Alexander filled the throne of All the Russias. Of the early 
Biblemen Steinkopff and Henderson and Alers Hankey still 
survived, but the shadows of sundown were lengthening 
round them all. An annuity of ;^200 was provided for the 
aged pioneer. He did not need it long. After several 
months of acute suffering, God granted the prayer recorded 
in the last entry in his journal, that "his end might be peace 
in Jesus " ; and on the 7th April 1859 he entered into his 
rest. "The Bible Society has indeed been most fortunate 
in its agents," wrote Lord Teignmouth in 1821, "and in 
none more than in Dr Pinkerton." "The mere fact that I 
was his successor," said the Rev. G. Palmer Davies,^ who 
was appointed to the vacancy, " was a sort of Open Sesame to 
the hearts of all Christians." 

During his residence at Frankfort the Bible cause had 
grown from strength to strength. Apart from the work at 

^ George Palmer Davies was born in Wales, and educated for the ministry at 
Homerton College under Dr J. Pye Smith. FaiUng health compelled him to resign 
his first and only pastorate, at Wandsworth, and he had been residing for some time 
in Germany when the agency at Frankfort was offered him. He was then in his 
thirty-first year. 


Cologne and Breslau, he himself circulated through Central 
Europe 1,524,512 copies of the Scriptures in many languages. 
In his closing years the German Bible Societies, the Canstein 
Institution, the Scottish and American agencies at Hamburg 
and Bremen were in active co - operation ; upwards of a 
hundred colporteurs belonging to various organisations were 
traversing the country ; and the annual aggregate distribu- 
tion was estimated at not less than 400,000 copies. The 
catechisms and school-books of the neologists were giving 
place to the Scriptures ; home missionary unions and 
evangelical artisan associations were spreading the know- 
ledge of the Word of God. Among the Roman Catholics 
so many of the laity and of the old parish priests were still 
accessible that the first edition of Van Ess's Bible, issued 
in 1855, was speedily exhausted. It was on this vast accept- 
ance of the Scriptures among the masses of the people that 
Dr Pinkerton rested his hopes for distracted Germany in the 
crisis which threatened faith and freedom. For an intolerant 
spirit had revived the old controversies between the Lutheran 
and Reformed Churches ; in the name of science the con- 
clusions and speculations of a lawless materialism were being 
scattered broadcast; by the Concordat of 1855 Austria had 
surrendered the schools, the press, and the spiritual liberties 
of its subjects to the Papacy, against whose subtle diplomacy 
in most of the German States he saw no safeguard save in the 
open Bible. 

Between March 1854 and March 1857 the distribution from 
the three agencies had been : — 

Frankfort, 182,397; Cologne, 220,021; Breslau - Berlin, 

134.975 copies. 

During the next three years remarkable progress was 
made. The number of colporteurs was considerably increased, 
a branch of the Cologne depot was opened at Hanover, and 
the circulation in the eastern district was doubled by the 
transfer of work from Breslau to Berlin. In 1858 Mr Palmer 


Davies took over the German-speaking cantons of Switzer- 
land, and at the beginning of i860 the whole of the Swiss 
Confederation was annexed to Frankfort. The Kingdom of 
Wiirtemberg had followed the example of Austria in its 
subservience to the Papacy ; Baden and Hesse-Cassel were 
negotiating concordats with Rome ; and in Switzerland the 
priesthood had been aroused to an aggressive hostility, but 
still there were signs of a spiritual awakening in many places. 
Strange to say, at this juncture the friends of the cause, who 
sowed in faith beside all waters, were cheered by a direct 
manifestation of the power of the Holy Spirit to lead men 
to truth by the written Word alone. 

In the Library at the Bible House is preserved the 
" HohenzoUern Bible," a costly, and, in its time, a beautiful 
book adorned with copper-plate engravings. It was pre- 
sented to the Society through Mr Palmer Da vies in i860 ; 
and this is its story. Early in the century, when Swabia 
was scarcely less Popish than Spain, Xavier Ruhn, a village 
schoolmaster at Bietinghausen in the little principality of 
HohenzoUern, obtained a copy of the Bible published at 
Nuremberg in 1781. The text had been revised by the 
Benedictine monks and the Jesuits of Mayence ; passages 
containing " clear proofs of Catholic doctrine " were 
"starred" and printed in large type; and a lengthy 
catechism had been added, to preserve the reader from 
heretical interpretations. The study of this volume gathered 
about Ruhn a small company of earnest inquirers. Other 
copies and different versions — even Luther's at last — were 
bought for comparison with the approved text ; and without 
the aid of a human teacher the Holy Spirit began its work. 
The Bible-readers quietly abstained from confession, and 
discontinued all rites and ceremonies for which they found 
no Scriptural authority. Still they showed no wish to leave 
their Church, and they might have remained to the end had 
they been granted the freedom of the Gospel. But when 


was sacerdotalism at once powerful and tolerant? Priestly 
arguments, warnings, threats, persecution were tried in vain. 
Arrest and imprisonment followed. Appeal was made to the 
highest court, and on the last day of the trial at Sigmaringen, 
the Prince himself, after listening to the proceedings from an 
adjoining room, interposed and ordered the accused to be set 
at liberty. No word of resentment, no sign of schism marred 
the humility of their faith. Then, we are told, " the Church 
changed its tactics." Absence from confession, disregard of 
fasts and festivals were overlooked ; even the " rinsing-cup," 
as a compromise on communion in both forms, was conceded. 
Years went by, and the old priests were succeeded by men 
who insisted on submission. The chalice was withdrawn, 
and the Bible-readers felt that the time was come for them 
to go forth from the Church of their fathers. Thirty-nine 
persons — several over seventy years of age and the youngest 
more than twenty — declared their intention to secede. All 
but four, whose courage failed them at the last, were received 
into the fellowship of the Protestant faith on the and February 
1858, and they were followed by eleven more on the 2nd 
September i860. 

From 1857 to March i860 the circulation of the three 
agencies exceeded 943,000 volumes; 241,431 were issued 
from Frankfort, 297,259 from Cologne, 404,420 from Berlin ; 
and by this rapid expansion the aggregate for the six years 
sprang up to nearly 1,500,000 copies of Scripture. It was a 
glorious achievement, but the outlay was heavy. The books 
alone were valued at ;^ioo,ooo ; little more than half that 
amount was realised by their sale ; and it became a question 
whether, considering the increasing needs of countries less 
favoured, too large a proportion of income was not being 
expended on a land which had long been reminded of its 
Bible privileges. Any reduction, however, seemed so sure 
to result in calamity, that the Committee decided to proceed 
in faith, and to lighten the burden by a slight increase in 


prices, and by the formation of local Associations among 
the inhabitants and foreign residents. 

Meanwhile Lieutenant Graydon had been making fair 
progress in Switzerland, For lack of efficient men next to 
nothing could be done by colportage in the cantons where 
it was permitted, but the Lieutenant himself, as he travelled 
from one parish to another with his well-stocked Bible-van, 
was worth many colporteurs ; and several thousands of copies 
were yearly scattered abroad from the depots at Lausanne, 
Berne, Geneva, and Neuchatel. For some time, indeed, the 
great Romish canton of Lucerne appeared to be "silently 
but surely coming under the blessed influence of the New 
Testament," but in 1857 a strong reaction in favour of 
Romanism forced him to withdraw his stores from Lucerne 
and Zurich. Still, in that year even, the distribution in 
Switzerland exceeded 22,000 copies. In 1858 the depot 
at the Hotel Gibbon, Lausanne, from which 15,000 copies 
had been sold, was closed in consequence of a change 
of proprietors. That at Neuchatel, however, remained a 
conspicuously active centre of voluntary service. It was one 
of those started by the Lieutenant in 1845, at the earnest 
request of Mile. Gruet. Her parents gladly made room 
for the precious charge under their own roof, and in the 
course of time eighteen small dependencies were formed in 
various parts of the district, and the sales had grown to 
nearly 7000 copies a year. Graydon's last visit was marked 
by a pleasant incident. While he was at the depot a 
mountaineer arrived with horse and car to purchase 500 
volumes, which he was taking home to some watch-maker 
village in the folds of the Jura. Co-operation on a larger 
scale was not wanting. A society for the diffusion of the 
Bible without the Apocrypha was formed at Basel in 1854, 
and the Committee assisted its work by a grant of ;^200 
and 500 volumes of the Word of God. 

From the Jubilee Year to the beginning of i860, when 


the whole of vSwitzerland was transferred to the Frankfort 
Agency, Lieutenant Graydon had distributed in the different 
cantons 112,228 Bibles and Testaments. 

In Italy work was difficult, progress of the slowest. 
How could it be otherwise in the Italy of these years? 
The Austrian flag shook its blighting shadow over Venice 
and Lombardy ; the Two Sicilies cowered under the brutal 
tyranny of King Bomba; the Vatican spun the iron web 
of its traditional policy of intellectual suppression and 
spiritual terrorism. The Bible was a book doubly accursed, 
as the symbol and charter of religious freedom and of con- 
stitutional rights. Yet even in these dark hours of despotism 
this strange fact is to be noted. The Archbishop of Florence, 
who in 1848 peremptorily refused his permission to print the 
Scriptures, has so far changed his course that an excellent, 
cheap, annotated edition of the New Testament — the text that 
of Martini, himself an Archbishop of Florence less than a 
century ago — is now issued to the faithful, with the imprimatur, 
and indeed the pastoral commendation, of his Grace : "No, 
it is not the use but the abuse of the Scriptures which the 
Church forbids to her children when she prohibits their read- 
ing those versions which have been mutilated and adulter- 
ated by heretic pens, or not approved for want of necessary 
comments." Thus far at least, in 1854, have we got since 
the Madiai were rescued from the dungeons of our Grand 
Duke and banished from the soil of Tuscany. Remember- 
ing the saving grace of Xavier Ruhn's Bible, shall we not 
be devoutly thankful for one good day's work at the hands 
of this Archbishop of Florence ? 

Except, then, in the Kingdom of Sardinia, the whole 
peninsula was closed against Bible-work. In that north- 
western corner, if it was not fully appreciated, it was 
countenanced by the law. " Perfect equality and the civil 
emancipation of all religious beliefs " — so much King 
Charles Albert had been anxious to establish when he 


granted the constitution ; and ' ' his successor has worthily 
followed his example," wrote the Marquis d'Azeglio, acknow- 
ledging the Committee's address to Victor Emmanuel on his 
visit to England in December 1855. But little was possible 
in a Piedmont harassed by twenty-three thousand ecclesiastics 
raging against suppression of monasteries and reduction of 
privileges, and the Holy Father anathematising the "horrible 
and incredible assault of the Subalpine Government." Five 
thousand four hundred copies were distributed in 1854 ; 
6800 in 1855. Discreet Biblemen were hard to come by ; 
and colportage was limited by other obstructions, illiteracy 
the worst. In 1854 Lieutenant Graydon landed in Sardinia, 
and was received "with almost brotherly embraces." A 
friendly but distressingly illiterate island ; ' ' swarming with 
friars and monks, who took right good care to keep every 
one of us in as much ignorance as possible " ; so that in a 
population of 550,000 over 90 per cent, were unable to read. 
Depots were stocked at Cagliari, Sassari, Alghero ; and 
Graydon left them — with hopes too sanguine to be quickly 
realised among people who had "to go well-armed to 
market" of a morning. 

In 1855 the depot at Nice was placed in charge of 
Francesco Madiai, and a sub-agency was formed at Genoa. 
Feluccas from Elba traded in charcoal with the old port of 
Nice, and Madiai, falling in with one of the skippers, gave 
him a Bible. The man read it, went trip after trip to the 
depot to talk about it, became more and more interested, 
brought some of his crew, and they took the Scriptures home 
with them. In three or four years the island had its Vaudois 
pastor, its colporteur, and in three distinct places groups 
of believers had entered on a new spiritual life. The sub- 
agency at Genoa was intrusted to another Florentine sufferer 
— Signor Betti, who in 1851 had been surprised by the 
police reading the Gospel of St John with six of his 


friends, committed to prison, and afterwards banished.^ 
Four colporteurs were speedily at work, in the city, among 
the shipping, in the surrounding country ; the Scriptures 
were exposed for sale in one of the great squares ; and by 
1858 six subsidiary depots were in operation. At Turin 
and elsewhere a remarkable impulse was given to public 
interest by the return of the Sardinian troops from the 
Crimea. They were the heroes of the hour. They had 
manned the trenches, ' ' from the mud of which Italy was 
to be made " ; they had beaten the Russians at Tchernaya ; 
they had brought back with them the thousands of Bibles 
and Testaments which they had read in camp by candle-light 
"most nights after the retreat was sounded,"^ and which 
they now eagerly showed to their friends as they spoke of 
the incidents of the war. Bishops threatened dire penalties ; 
priests, who bought copies which they tore up or burnt on 
the spot, tried to rouse the passions of the mob ; colporteurs 
were maltreated and cast into prison ; but the work prospered, 
and in the three years, 1856-58, the average distribution 
exceeded 12,600 volumes. 

In the spring of 1859 Italy was vibrating with the tramp 
of war. Sardinia had refused to disarm ; Austrian regiments 
were massing on the Ticino ; French troops were pouring 
into Piedmont. On the 12th May Napoleon III. reached 
Genoa, and eight days later the Austrians were defeated at 
Montebello. Success followed success — Palestra, Magenta, 
Marignano ; and on the 24th June the freedom of Lombardy 
was won on the heights of Solferino. The Duchies of 
Tuscany, Parma, and Modena had expelled their sovereigns, 
the Romagna had flung off the Papal yoke, and before the 
end of the autumn these States had declared for annexation 
to Piedmont. Notwithstanding the confusion and excitement 
of the time, 23,850 copies of the Scriptures were circulated 

' Signor Betti died in December 1864. 
2 Vol. ii. p. 292. 


during the year. Between 2000 and 3000 were sold among 
the troops at Turin and Nice. In June operations were 
begun in Milan, where 1300 copies had long been detained 
at the custom-house. Over 11,600 were issued from the 
Genoa depot, and Signor Betti's men tried new ground in 
Lombardy and the liberated Duchies. From Leghorn Mr 
T. H. Bruce, "an English resident," whose name soon 
became familiar, made a tour through the Duchies and as 
far east as San Marino. In November a depot was opened 
in Florence, Bible advertisements appeared in the Govern- 
ment newspapers, and colporteurs took up the work which 
had been so abruptly stopped, ten years before, by the 
disaster of Novara. The stir of this eventful time was not 
confined to Italy. Between the outbreak of hostilities and 
the second week of July the South German societies drew 
upon the Frankfort Agency for 16,000 New Testaments for 
distribution among the troops in Wiirtemburg, Baden, and 
Bavaria, for the Austrian contingent in the fortress of Ulm, 
and for the Austrian prisoners of war at Marseilles and 
other French towns. 

On the nth May Garibaldi and his Thousand landed in 
Sicily. On the 15th the Neapolitan troops were routed at 
Calatafimi. The young king,i in his panic, "telegraphed 
five times in twenty-four hours for the blessing of the Pope," 
but the great Condottiere pressed on. Palermo was stormed 
on the 27th, and the new Sicilian constitution proclaimed 
on the 3rd August. Lieutenant Graydon was promptly on 
the spot, and after some vexatious delay a depot was 
established in Palermo. It took some time for the people to 
realise their liberty, but by the end of the year 700 copies 
of the Scriptures were sold in Sicily. 

The "Red Shirts" entered Naples in September. On 
the 19th of that month an excited crowd — "women, with 

^ Ferdinand II. (" Bomba") had died in May 1859, and was succeeded by his son, 
Francis II., the last King of Naples. 


outstretched hands and tears streaming down their cheeks, 
vociferating their thanks ; strong men sobbing like children " 
— witnessed the " miracle " of St Januarius ; before the month 
was out Gavazzi was denouncing the imposture, and the 
Bible Society's agent and his colporteur were offering the 
Word of Life to the wondering people. What a sight in 
the busy thoroughfare of the Toledo : a lad sitting at a large 
tray of Bibles and Testaments and arresting passers-by 
with his shrill cry, // Libra! II Libra! ["The Book! The 
Book!"]. "Let September 25,^ i860," exclaimed the Times 
correspondent, "be written in red letters in the history of the 
Two Sicilies, as the day when the true light of freedom was 
shed on this country. Diodati's Bibles selling in the streets 
of Naples ! — who could ever have believed it ? " " The 
book," wrote Mr Bruce, "seemed almost as new to the 
priests as to the people, and some of the former were among 
the first to buy it." By the end of the year 4438 copies had 
been sold, and a depot started under the care of Signer Cresi, 
a Neapolitan, who had devoted himself to the evangelising 
of his countrymen. 

In that memorable September Cavour responded to the 
appeal of the insurgents in Umbria and the Marches ; fifty 
thousand Sardinians crossed the Pontifical frontier ; Pesaro, 
Perugia, Ancona fell in quick succession, and by the end of 
the month the Papal States were free. Austria still held 
Venetia, the Holy Father was still the secular monarch of 
Rome, but otherwise from the Alpine snows to the fires of 
-^tna Italy had won its right to be a nation. 

During the year at least thirty colporteurs were travelling 
with a cheap and open Bible through Sicily and the cities 
and villages of the peninsula, and the circulation rose to 
30,000 copies. They traversed Tuscany, the Marches, 
the Abruzzi without molestation. One of them, with his 

^ The sales began on the 22nd ; apparently they did not come under the corre- 
spondent's notice till the 25th, 


tray of books, took his stand under the arches of the main 
street of the old Etruscan city of Pisa, crying, La Luce! 
La Luce! [" The Light ! The Light ! "]— and not in vain. 
A depot was opened in Milan. Nice, which had now 
become French territory, was attached to the Paris Agency, 
and Signor Madiai returned to his native province. And 
other agencies were at work — the Geneva Committee, the 
Waldensian Church, the Scottish Bible Societies (not yet 
amalgamated), who were eager to share in the privilege of 
giving the Word of God to the Italian people. A most 
significant fact in its bearing on liberty of religious thought 
and action — 2000 copies of Diodati's New Testament were 
issued from the Waldensian press in Turin, without archi- 
episcopal sanction, and without let or hindrance on the part 
of the Government. The Committee bore half the expense, 
and arrangements were made for other editions. " I believe," 
said Sir Robert Peel from his place in Parliament, ' ' that the 
Reformation has commenced in Italy." 

Lieutenant Graydon resigned in the autumn of i860. 
He had been a regular servant of the Society since 1851, 
but his connection with Bible-work dated, as we have seen, 
from 1835, and for many years he had given his labours for 
love of the cause. He was succeeded by Mr T. H. Bruce, 
who entered on his duties in September, in time to take 
advantage of the occupation of Naples. Thomas Humble 
Bruce was a younger brother of Dr John Collingwood 
Bruce, secretary of the Newcastle Auxiliary, and the well- 
known historian of the Roman Wall. He had resided at 
Leghorn as a schoolmaster to the English colony since 
1846, had long been interested in the welfare of the Tuscan 
people, and had given what help he could to the spread 
of the Gospel. Copies of the Scriptures in Italian, secreted 
in bales of goods and consigned to God-fearing merchants, 
were smuggled ashore by Bruce and his wife, and in the 
course of frequent journeys were passed into Florence. It 


was at his house, in 1851, that the Florentine monk Verona 
changed his garb and escaped in the guise of an English- 
man's servant — to become a missionary in Smyrna ; and 
in the same year, when Leghorn was swarming with 
Austrian troops, Bruce sheltered the convert Bolognini, till 
he could get him safely on board a vessel for Malta. His 
aptitude for teaching he inherited from one grandfather, 
John Bruce, the famous North of England schoolmaster ; 
his love of the Bible from the other, who as a shepherd lad 
had spent his days in learning many a psalm and chapter 
among his flock on the Forfar hills. A change was now 
made in the working arrangements for the Mediterranean, 
and the range of the Italian Agency to which Mr Bruce 
was appointed included Northern Africa, Egypt, and Syria. 
Of these countries, however, we shall not speak in the present 

Italy was free, but 1848 had not been forgotten. In the 
midst of the intense political excitement, the passion for 
Roma capitate^ men could not shake off the dread that the 
reign of terror might again return. Many* friends of the 
old order still occupied places of trust and authority. The 
priests, who possessed " the power of the keys," who could 
refuse baptism to the new-born babe, absolution to the dying, 
religious rites to the dead, still held their terrible sway over 
the souls of masses of the people. All these conditions 
retarded the spread of the Word of Life, but, notwithstand- 
ing the scarcity of suitable workers, the Scriptures were 
scattered abroad in thousands. With the courage of faith 
the colporteurs faced the dangers of their hard life. One 
was imprisoned for five days on bread and water, and then 
released for lack of sufficient evidence against him ; another, 
in the Abruzzi, was stripped to his shirt by brigands who 
wore the rosary round their necks, and a red band with an 
image of the Madonna round their hats ; a third was more 
fortunate— the marauders returned him his money and books, 


with the exception of seventeen Bibles and Testaments which 
they kept for themselves. From Vesuvius to the Sila forest 
the hills were infested by Bourbon banditti, but the Biblemen 
pushed through into Calabria and Otranto ; Ischia, Procida, 
and Capri were visited ; and work was begun afresh in the 
Island of Sardinia. Before the close of 1864, 35 colporteurs 
were in the field ; a depot had been opened in Ancona ; 
15,000 copies of Diodati's New Testament had been issued 
from the press at Florence ; and Sunday schools had been 
begun in various parts of the country. On a stormy night in 
November that year, at Naples, where but a little while ago 
police guarded the doors of the English Church to prevent 
any Italian from entering, a Bible Society was founded at 
a meeting of over a hundred Italians and English. 

The grave danger of the time was that political and 
religious liberty might be taken as a final goal, and that 
the fanaticism of Popery might be exchanged for the hatred 
or indifference of infidelity. That danger chiefly threatened 
the wealthy and educated, on whom the Gospel seemed to 
make little impression. In striking contrast with the course 
of the Reformation, when the truth made its way in the first 
instance among the upper classes, to-day, through the good 
providence of God, the Scriptures were in possession of the 
poorest, and it was not the high but the lowly — the small 
shopkeepers, the artisans, the labouring people — who were 
beginning to work out the true emancipation of Italy. 

On the 8th December 1864 Pius IX. published in his 
famous Syllabus "of the principal errors of our time" the 
arrogant claim of the Church of Rome "to ecclesiastical 
dominion over civil society."^ We need not dwell on that 
amazing document, which did not even profess to be a 

' The Pope, the King, and the People, p. 46 — an exhaustive account, based 
chiefly on Roman CathoUc authorities, of the Syllabus, and of the proceedings and 
"true inwardness" of the Vatican Council, by the Rev. William Arthur, M.A., 
sometime secretary of the Wesleyan Missionary Society, and a Vice-President of he 
Bible Society. 


proclamation of the glory and redemption of the Cross, and 
in which, from the seventeenth article to the eightieth, 
"there was not a single proposition," to use the words of 
a living French statesman, "that did not condemn the 
principles of justice and liberty whereon modern society is 
based." Its desperate folly was soon to be eclipsed by a 
more stupendous attempt to usurp divine authority on earth. 
The Bible Society pursued its course with unabated 
energy, and its labours were encouraged by visible results. 
In many of the smaller towns and some of the villages of 
Piedmont, in the cities along the Adriatic shore, from Ancona 
to "the heel of the boot," groups of believers met together for 
the simple worship of the Early Church. Canon Storelli of 
Corato was not the only priest who resigned his charge to 
preach the pure Gospel. In remote places colporteurs came 
upon individuals and families who had been led to Christ by 
the Bible alone ; and in one instance three countrymen from 
beyond Benevento journeyed to Naples to learn how they 
and their families should celebrate the Lord's Supper. 

In 1866 Venetia was wrested from Austria and added to 
united Italy ; but at this point we must return to the record 
of events in Germany. 

That good friend of the cause, Frederick William IV., 
was dead, and his successor, William I., had graciously 
accepted a Bible and a congratulatory address from the 
Society.^ On the loth March 1861, Mr N. B. Millard 
succumbed to a sudden attack of rheumatic fever, and the 
Cologne Agency was merged in that of Frankfort. 

Recent events had convinced the Emperor Francis Joseph 
that his government must be established on a more liberal 
basis. A new constitution was promulgated, concessions 
were made to his Protestant subjects, and early in 1861 the 
Committee received the welcome tidings that at last the 

' A little later his Majesty continued the annual subscription of £2$ which his 
brother began in 1842. 


laws which prevented the introduction of the Scriptures into 
the dominions of Austria had been rescinded. Unhappily 
their gratification was premature. Journeys to the capital, 
interviews with officials, memorials warmly supported by 
the chief Protestant Ecclesiastical Council of the Empire, 
all failed to receive the prompt decision so freely promised. 
Three years of suspense and vexatious silence elapsed before 
sanction was granted, and then it was limited by the press 
and trade regulations. Still the rights of printing and dis- 
tribution were conceded. Operations were at once begun at 
Pesth ; on the 14th November 1864 Mr Edward Millard threw 
open the doors of the depot in Vienna ; and arrangements 
were made for a third centre at Prague. 

He flung himself heartily into the new field with the 
energy and ubiquity of the Society's great organisers. He 
was busy everywhere — from the Tyrol to Poland, from 
the Riesen Gebirge to Montenegro. More than once his 
presence at Belgrade safeguarded the depot at a critical 
juncture, and prevented interruption in the Principality of 
Servia. Transylvania had no railways and few public 
roads. He hurried through that strange country of many 
races. On his way thither he discovered at Temesvar a 
solitary Bible, priced at ;^2 ; heard of a recent edition 
in folio at Hermanstadt, published at £6 ; and secured a 
depositary at Klausenburg, in the centre of the Magyar 
population. Protestant privileges were soon annulled in 
the Tyrol, but some progress was made in Austrian Italy, 
and a small sub-depot was founded at Ragusa for Dalmatia 
and Istria, though little could be done in consequence of 
the illiteracy of the people. In 1866 he was enabled to 
concentrate his attention on his Austrian work by the 
transfer of the Berlin Agency to the Rev. Dr D. W. 
Simon of Manchester, who had been in charge of the 
depot since 1863. He made another journey to Warsaw 
in the spring, with the happy result that once more the 


Scriptures were placed within reach of the Polish people. 
Opposition was not wanting. The Society was denounced 
from the Romish pulpits as corrupters of God's Word and 
disturbers of the peace ; the depot was searched by the 
military for seditious publications ; but the blessing of 
heaven rested on the undertaking, and by the following 
February 34,400 volumes had been distributed. 

The following figures show the early successes of the 
Austrian agency : — November 1864 to February 1865 — 
25,298 copies; February 1865 to February i866 — 58,091; 
February 1866 to February 1867 — 156,396: a total of 
239.785 copies. 

Meanwhile, in the Frankfort and Berlin Agencies the 
work was expanding with a vitality scarcely less remark- 
able. The rise in prices was abandoned in 1863, and in 
the following year the sales reached the highest figures 
yet attained. Between i860 and 1866 the number of col- 
porteurs was increased from 54 to 73, and the patient, 
prayerful men carried the Scriptures northward as far as 
the East Frisian Islands on the west and Memel on the 
east. The old troubles beset them — the teachings of 
infidelity, the predilection for the Apocrypha, the opposition 
of the priests. In Upper Silesia, where the straits of the 
Holy Father were attributed to Protestantism, the steadfast 
Bibleman met the threatened terrors of excommunication 
with words of encouragement: "Come, come — cheer up, 
good folk ! The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof. 
Christ's grave has sanctified our grave, wherever it may 
be dug ; we require no priest's hand to consecrate it. As 
to this book, it is the Holy Bible, of which Christ spoke 
to the two disciples on the way to Emmaus, and of which 
they said, ' Did not our heart burn within us while he 
talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the 
Scriptures ? ' " Yet these were no idle threats. In one of 
Mr Palmer Davies's districts, an old man and his wife who 



had accepted the truth of the Gospel were publicly ex- 
communicated. Shortly before the old man's death two 
priests visited him, but he refused to recant. The Church 
refused him Christian burial, and he was about to be laid 
in a grave dug on a common road when a colporteur 
induced the authorities of a Protestant parish to take the 
corpse and give it honourable interment. 

New editions were continually passing through the 
press — in 1865 alone 302,860 volumes in eight languages 
were printed under Mr Millard's supervision at an outlay 
of ;^i5,645. Among new versions were the Psalms and 
Pentateuch translated into Servian by Dr Gjuro Dani9i9 ; 
and a Samogit Testament was issued for the benefit of the 
Polish insurgents exiled to Siberia after the rising of 1863. 
The project of forming local Auxiliaries was in some 
measure realised. Admirable service was rendered by that 
founded at Frankfort for the supply of the city and the 
surrounding district, and material assistance was given by 
others at Stuttgart and Canstadt, Bonn, Hamburg, and 
Dresden, and by a Ladies' Association at Carlsruhe. 

In Switzerland colportage became more practicable. 
Men were employed in St Gall, the Grisons and the four 
Forest Cantons ; the Geneva Society undertook the travelling 
in the Canton de Vaud, and work was resumed at Lucerne 
and Zurich. Large quantities of books were distributed 
through correspondents and native societies, and a zealous 
spirit animated the various depots. The average circula- 
tion — 35,700 copies — of the three years 1860-63 rose to 
49,800 for the next four. 

Among the free copies devoted to public institutions 

and benevolent organisations may be mentioned the first 

grant (in 1864) to Sunday schools connected with the 

National Churches, which had just adopted that plan of 

eligious instruction.^ The extension of the movement was 

' " In the summer of 1863," wrote Mr Palmer Davies, some sixteen years after 


gradual, but at the end of 1866 there were in Germany 
45 Lutheran Sunday schools, with 600 teachers and over 
6000 scholars. Nor should the Society's solicitude for 
the sightless be forgotten. The preparation of the Bible 
in Braille for the use of the patients connected with the 
Blind Asylum at Lausanne was suspended for lack of funds. 
On condition that the balance should be subscribed, the 
Committee promised a grant of ;^200 towards the ;^320 still 
required. The remaining £^20 was provided by the Bible 
Societies of the Canton de Vaud, Geneva, and Neuchatel, 
and the beneficent enterprise was completed. 

Of the amazing progress made in this brief interval, of 
the eagerness of the vast populations of Central Europe to 
possess the Word of Life, figures alone can afford a real 
criterion. During the seven years 1860-67, close upon 
2,660,000 copies of Scripture, in a very Pentecost of tongues, 
were distributed through the three agencies : — from Cologne, 
630,000; from Frankfort, 778,000; from Berlin, 1,012,000; 
from the centres in Austria, 239,785. In the last year alone 
of the series, 1866-67, the aggregate was 588,327 — nearly 
one -fourth of the Society's annual circulation throughout 
the entire world. 

During the seven years, moreover, one heard so often "of 
revivals in whole districts, of the conversion of individuals, 
of the consolations of the Word in the chambers of the 
sick and dying, and of the establishment of spiritual com- 
munities and churches, in which the authority of God's holy 
Book had been accepted as the supreme rule of faith and 
practice," that it was impossible to think the Bible had 
been circulated in Germany to no purpose. 

We must now touch on other incidents in the train 

the event, "Mr Woodruff of New York and Mr Broekelmann of Heidelberg 
started on their German Sunday-school tour, and made their first halt in Frankfort- 
on-the-Main. They found from thirty to forty children, whom my wife gathered 
around her for a little Sunday service. They organised these children into groups 
according to age and sex, induced Mrs Davies to associate four young ladies with 
her as teachers, and so the first Sunday school in Germany was founded." — Report 
for 1880, p. 42. 


of national events which were shaping the future of the 
Society in Europe. In January 1864 Austria joined Prussia 
in wresting the Duchies of Sleswick and Holstein from 
Denmark. During the unequal struggle 11,623 copies of 
the Scriptures were distributed by the Copenhagen Agency 
in the Danish camps and among the sick and wounded. 
Mr Palmer Davies hastened to the headquarters of the 
allies, and five of his best colporteurs were incessantly at 
work in the hospitals, at the busy railway stations, among 
the prisoners of war, at the guard-rooms, in the neighbour- 
ing farms, which were swarming with troops. From the 
forts of Diippel and the frontiers of Jutland down to the 
Elbe he found the bloody story of the short campaign 
recorded in the continuous line of lazarets and hospitals. 
"The Pole," he wrote, "lies silent, and cannot say a 
word to the Hungarian, his neighbour, on a bed of suffer- 
ing ; nor can he in turn address his next neighbour, the 
Bohemian ; nor he the Italian ; nor he the Dane ; nor he 
the German ; but in Polish, Hungarian, Bohemian, Italian, 
Danish, and German the little book tells its story of divine 
love." In these languages, and in Dutch, Servian, and 
Lithuanian, 22,719 volumes were sent out to the war from 
the Frankfort Agency. 

In less than two years the question of these Duchies led 
to the fierce contest which was to decide the predominance 
of the Hapsburg or the Hohenzollern in Germany. Italy 
leagued with Prussia on condition that there should be no 
peace until Venetia had been surrendered. On the i8th June 
1866 war with Austria was declared, and as the line of 
military occupation shifted to the north or to the south 
the operations of the Frankfort Agency were divided between 
the Federal and the Prussian forces. Besides the Cologne 
staff, army chaplains, ministers, and unofficial friends, eight 
colporteurs were at work about Frankfort — two of them 
Brethren from the missionary college at St Chrischona, 
near Basel, three others men in the employ of the Stuttgart 


and Carlsruhe Bible Societies. In all, 62,137 copies were 
distributed — 24,000 among the Federal troops, 38,000 among 
the Prussians. 

From the first there was little doubt as to the issue of 
the strife. Johann Dreyse's needle gun swept all before it. 
Three Prussian armies entered Bohemia on the 27th June. 
Within a week the Austrians had fallen back on Konig- 
gratz, whose gates preserved in sculpture, surrounded with 
various Bohemian texts of Scripture, the memory of the 
martyrdom of Huss. At Sadowa, six - and - twenty miles 
away, the supremacy in Central Europe was given on the 
3rd July to the children of the Reformation. 

From Vienna Mr Millard and his staff distributed 35,627 
copies, and over 12,000 more were disposed of by Dr Simon 
in the hospitals and prison camps in the Berlin Agency. 
The entire circulation among the contending armies was not 
less than 109,764 volumes. 

Of the many stirring incidents in this Seven Weeks' War 
one may be transferred to these pages. An Austrian 
colporteur met a squadron of horse, and offered them 
Portions of the Scripture. They asked what induced him 
to do so. He told them it was the gift of Christian love. 
They wanted to know his name, but he replied that he was 
no more than a messenger. Then said one: "This is 
perhaps from what people call a Bible Society." "Yes," he 
answered, "so it is; it is from the English Bible Society." 
So they got out their lead-pencils, and while riding on, 
marked down on the fly-leaf the place and date of this 
happy encounter. Then, turning in their saddles, they 
shouted, as of one accord : "Thanks to the Bible Society ! " 

As the result of the campaign, Venetia, the last possession 
of Austria south of the Alps, was ceded to France, and 
annexed by plebiscite to the kingdom of Italy ; and the Iron 
Crown, enshrining in gold and jewels one of the nails said 
to have been used at the Crucifixion, was resigned to King 
Victor at Turin, on the 4th November i866. For the first 


time "the City of the Sea" was thrown open to the Society, 
and among the colporteurs were three Venetian exiles "who 
were thankful to carry back to their own" province the Book 
of which they had learned the value among strangers." 
Close upon 50,000 copies were scattered abroad in Italy in 
1867. Up to that point, no doubt, the rapidly-increasing 
circulation of the Scriptures was aided by political aspira- 
tions (many patriots bought the Bible "not that they might 
live as Christians, but might breathe as free men ") and 
by a curiosity to examine the volume which had been 
stigmatised by the priests as a cunning device of Satan to 
lure the rash and the weak to perdition. A considerable 
declension in sales occurred during the next three years of 
public agitation, but signs were not wanting that the smaller 
circulation was consistent with a wider and truer awakening 
to spiritual things. 

In September 1868 his Holiness Pope Pius IX. convened 
the twentieth (Ecumenical Council. Crowds of stately 
ecclesiastics from thirty nations testified to the widespread 
authority of the Church of Rome. Too old to travel in his 
ninety-fourth year, his Grace of Lima sent his pastoral staff 
of pure Peruvian gold ; but prelates from the sees of the 
New World were brought into contact with Asiatic arch- 
bishops who bore "the names of those famous and fallen 
Churches to which the Apostle John conveyed mysterious 
words of commendation and rebuke eighteen centuries ago." 
Yet what a change had stricken the traditions of the Papacy ! 
The Bull of Convocation contained no invitation to the 
Princes of Christendom. "Spain was fallen, Poland was 
extinct, Italy was hostile, Austria was enfeebled, France was 
strong but not sound — there were no Catholic States."^ 
" The order in which society has existed for the last thousand 
years," wrote Louis Veuillot, the uncompromising Ultra- 
montane journalist, ' ' has ceased to be. What has been 
called the Middle Ages has come to an end." 

^ Arthur, The Pope, the King, and the People, p. 138, 


The Council met, and five hundred and thirty -three 
prelates and princes of the Church assented to the most 
amazing aggression that has ever threatened the freedom of 
the human spirit. On the i8th July 1870 Pope Pius IX. 
proclaimed the dogma of his own infallibility as th^ successor 
of St Peter. A thunder-storm was raging ; thunderbolts fell 
in the Eternal City ; flashes of lightning blazed through the 
darkness of the Basilica of St Peter, and as the thunder 
pealed overhead the Sovereign Pontiff read, by the light of 
the tapers held at his side, the fourfold anathema of the new 
canons. "Many said, God is installing the new Moses 
upon the new Sinai " ; ^ others heard in these thunderings 
the artillery not of an enthronement but of a revolution. 

On that very day the French courier was on his way from 
Paris to Berlin, bearing the Emperor's declaration of war 
against Germany. Between the lines of that declaration 
was written the doom of the "temporal power." "There 
is reason to believe that the incitement to the great war 
between France and Germany came from Rome. The great 
Council of the Vatican was to meet in 1869, and if, simul- 
taneously with the promulgation of the decree of Papal 
Infallibility that would stamp the Syllabus as of faith, 
Prussia were levelled in the dust, Austria and France 
might join hands over her body to restore in some fashion 
the supremacy of the Church, and to defeat the aspirations 
of Italy." ^ On the 4th August the Crown Prince of Prussia 
crossed the frontier, and the disasters of France began. 
Four days later the regiments of "the Eldest Son of the 
Church " and the last champion of the temporal power 
evacuated Rome. 

But here we must pause until we have brought the affairs 
of the French Agency into line with these memorable events. 

' Arthur, The Pope, the Kinp, and the reo/le, p. 635. 

^ Baring-Gould, The Church in Germany, p. 381. See also The Pope, the King, 
and the People, pp. Z08-9, and Prince Bismarck's speech in Parliament, 4th December 



The story of the Paris Agency during these sixteen years 
(1854-70) is the record of a protracted struggle, which 
heightened in its intensity as the numbered days of the 
Second Empire drew to their disastrous close. The new 
epoch began with a brilliant promise of enlarged usefulness. 
In 1854, and again in 1855, the returns of distribution ran 
into six figures. Then, suddenly, the cheering prospect 
clouded. Not one but every department and method of 
activity — the business of the depots, the co-operation of 
religious organisations, the sales effected through friends 
and correspondents — was impeded by the adverse forces 
of the time, some casually antagonistic, others deliberately 
ranged against the great purpose of the Society. On one 
occasion the annual circulation sank as low as 74,000 copies. 

Nevertheless, 1,644,500 copies of Scripture, including 
169,376 distributed at the Paris Exhibition of 1867, and 
32,896 at the Maritime Exhibition at Havre in 1868, were 
scattered abroad between 1854 ^"^ 1870, and by far the 
greater part of these fell into the hands of the Roman 
Catholic population. 

For eighty per cent, of the regular distribution M. de 
Pressense was dependent on his colporteurs. The number 
of these, employed for the whole or a part of the year, varied 
from 60 to 1 14. As in the past, most of them had once been 
members of the Church of Rome ; many of them had served 
the Society from ten to twenty years ; several had been 



soldiers ; some had their small farms, to which they returned 
at the call of the seasons. Devoted men, it is clear, who 
had been instructed to begin the day with prayer for 
guidance, for unfailing confidence in the efficacy of God's 
Word; and who, like St Paul, were "in journeyings often, 
in perils of waters, in perils of robbers " — two, indeed, were 
drowned while engaged in their duties ; a third, attacked on 
the edge of a forest, was plundered and flung senseless into 
a ditch ; and it was no new thing to be accused on false 
charges, or to be refused a meal and a night's shelter at the 
village inn. In 1866 they were travelling in sixty of' the 
eighty-nine Departements of France. Ten of the remaining 
Departements were cared for by other societies, and measures 
had been taken by friends in Germany and Switzerland to 
supply those parts of the country in which no society was 
yet at work. 

As in former years, groups of evangelical believers, which 
sprang up in the places they visited, testified to the mar- 
vellous power of the written Word. Under the oppressive 
rule of the prefects and mayors, whose action in too many 
districts was subservient to the hostility of the ecclesiastics, 
these congregations met for prayer and the study of the 
Scriptures in barns, in the woods, in the open fields, until, 
happily, local tyranny was thwarted by an imperial decree 
which assigned the licensing of Protestant places of worship 
to the Council of State. 

In the great military camps these zealous Biblemen were 
able to accomplish work of a far-reaching influence. Here 
and there they were assisted by veterans who treasured the 
volumes they had received in the Crimea. Hundreds of the 
conscripts they taught to read — "thirty, forty, and at times 
even fifty pupils " gathering of an evening in the tents or in 
the colporteurs' lodgings "to spell out the verses of the New 
Testament, the only reading-book used." Year by year 
they sold thousands of copies, so that, as M. de Pressense 


noted, in numbers of houses, both in the towns and villages, 
the moment a colporteur made his appearance with the 
Scriptures in his hands, an aged father or mother, or 
it might be a sister or cousin, at once produced a New 
Testament received as a present from some soldier in a 
gallant regiment far away. Austrian prisoners of war sent 
into France during the Italian campaign were visited, and 
nearly 6000 Bibles and Testaments were distributed among 
the regiments embarking at Cherbourg and Toulon on the 
ill-fated expedition to Mexico. 

One unusual colportage incident occurred in the summer 
of 1S63. At some gay watering-place a colporteur saw 
coming towards him a brilliant group of ladies, among whom 
one took marked precedence. Her manner was so gracious 
that the colporteur approached her with the Bible in his hand. 
She stopped, and, taking the book, opened it in several places, 
while she graciously listened to his simple and ardent com- 
mendation of the Divine Word. "I know the Bible, and 
appreciate it, " she said at length, as she gave him back the 
volume ; " I possess it already, and that is the reason why 
I do not buy a copy." Then kindly saluting him she passed 
on with her suite. "This great lady was none other than 
the Empress." 

On the bitter hostility of the clergy, who with few excep- 
tions denounced "the infamous Bible Society of London," 
it is unnecessary to dwell ; but a word must be said of that 
unscrupulous politico-ecclesiastic party whose cynical tactics 
made Montalembert "redden to the whites of his eyes and 
shiver to the ends of his nails." From the moment that 
the temporal power of the Pope was menaced, the Ultra- 
montanes used every effort to arrest the work of the Society. 
The Bible was branded as a symbol of anarchy and revolu- 
tion ; faith and morals were ruined by its indiscriminate 
circulation without the notes and explanations of the Church ; 
the retention of so bad a book, it was declared, afforded 


grounds for believing that the possessors were members of 
a most dangerous political association. The object of the 
work was to dethrone the Holy Father, to destroy the 
Catholic Apostolic Roman religion, and so to upheave the 
very bed-rock of society. The colporteurs were described 
as socialists and revolutionaries in the pay of Protestant 
nations, men without faith and without law, disturbers of the 
public peace and a peril to the Government. A striking 
comment on these charges was the increasing facility with 
which licences were obtained from the authorities, and the 
lengthened periods which they covered. In 1866 a com- 
mission reported to the Minister of the Interior that, so 
far from being dangerous, the circulation of the Scriptures 
had decidedly improved the moral condition of the people. 
Various obstacles were accordingly removed ; and the need 
for a departmental as well as a central sanction for colportage 
was set aside. As to the character of the men irresistible 
testimony was borne, at least on one occasion, when between 
four and five thousand Roman Catholics attended the funeral 
of the worthy colporteur Guyot. Curiously enough, one 
unexpected result of Ultramontane violence was that "in all 
directions people were buying 'the great Book,' in order to 
ascertain what God declared respecting the Papacy." 

Unhappily, there were antagonists more subtle and elusive 
than Ultramontanism — luxury and gay materialism and 
godless indifference, a sceptical and a profligate literature, 
scoffing infidelity and blasphemous atheism. In the last 
years of the Empire, when the restrictions on public meet- 
ings were relaxed and social problems were discussed in 
crowded assemblies, the very name of God raised a tempest 
of passionate execration, and immortality and eternity were 
scouted as the reliques of an imbecile superstition incom- 
patible with the freedom and happiness of mankind. Nor 
was it simply in the hearing of the illiterate classes that these 
manifestations took place ; men of science and popular 


writers gave them the sanction of their presence, if not of 
their concurrence. Yet the very intensity of these evils 
provoked a reaction. Attacks on the divinity of our Lord 
awakened an interest in His humanity. From the pages of 
the Vz'e de Jesus people turned expectantly to the Gospel story. 
" One of our Paris pastors," wrote M. de Pressense in 1864, 
" received an invitation from Amiens to preach two sermons 
on the subject. The Roman Catholic population attended 
the Protestant chapel in considerable numbers. Among the 
persons present, who crowded even to the steps of the pulpit, 
could be seen magistrates, lawyers, officers, representatives 
in fact of all classes of society, all listening with an extra- 
ordinary seriousness to everything that had reference to the 
person of the Saviour. What thus took place is occurring in 
every part of France. " At last even the walls of Notre Dame 
rang with a cry strange from the lips of a Dominican, strange 
from the pulpit of a Romish cathedral. " Leave us our 
Bible," exclaimed le Pere Hyacinthe — "leave us our Bible 
for our children to spell — the Bible which created the print- 
ing press, the Bible which civilised Europe. Leave us our 
Bible, as Frenchmen and as Catholics ! " 

At this point we may mention three signs of progress — 
facts easily missed in the mass of details but of marked 
significance. In 1864 the spirit of inquiry had grown so 
fearless among Roman Catholics that the circulation of 
De Sacy's version of the Bible showed a marked decline.^ 
In 1865 the Gospel of St Luke and the Book of Psalms 
were issued in embossed characters for the blind, and 
M. de Pressense was authorised to make free grants of the 
Scriptures to Sunday schools. At the close of 1866 the 
sale of the whole Bible was equal to one -fourth of the 
entire circulation in France. 

^ In 1882, when the colporteurs had penetrated into new Roman Catholic 
districts, the De Sacy version counted for less than six per cent, of their total sales. 
The De Sacy percentage of the agency's entire sales, including those to religious 
societies and foreign agencies, was 7.6. 


For a moment we must glance at the co-operation of the 
French and Foreign Bible Society, which materially aided 
the distribution of the Scriptures among the Protestant 
portion of the population by its colportage in districts un- 
traversed by the men of the Paris Agency. At the beginning 
of 1855 it was distributing about 33,000 copies a year, and 
up to that date had circulated over 445,000 since its founda- 
tion in 1833. In 1857-58 its annual issues fell to 17,200; 
and in response to the appeal of its directors, whose energies 
were straitened by inadequate means, the London Com- 
mittee voted a grant of ;^300, which was followed by 
one of ;^5oo seven years later. In addition to its specific 
work, the French and Foreign Bible Society printed a 
large proportion of the Scriptures required by the Paris 

The Protestant Bible Society of Paris, of which the 
distinguished historian and statesman, M. Guizot, became 
president in 1854, co-operated on a restricted scale. For 
the most part its distribution took the form of presenting the 
New Testament to candidates for confirmation and the Bible 
to newly-married couples. In 1859 its yearly circulation 
amounted to 11,184 copies — the largest number since 1834; 
and though it still adhered to the Apocrypha, considerably 
more than half the Bibles which it issued in that year con- 
tained only the canonical books. In 1863, after prolonged 
discussion and grave remonstrances, its committee adopted 
a version of the Bible "strongly marked by unsound 
doctrinal sentiments " ; ^ and a large section of its supporters 
withdrew and formed a new organisation, the Bible Society 
of France. In aiding this new venture with a grant of 
Scriptures to the value of ;^300, the London Committee 
endeavoured to induce the seceders to throw in their lot 
with the French and Foreign Bible Society. Various 

^ This appears to have been the version (prepared by a company of pastors at 
Geneva) to which Dr Paterson objected in 1836.— iie vol. ii. p. 204. 


difficulties made this course at first impracticable, but in 
1865 an amalgamation was happily effected.^ 

A place apart must be given to 1867, the annus ■mirabilis 
of the Exposition Universelle. Never, probably, since the 
days of the martyred Huguenots had there been such a 
sowing of the seed of divine truth as then took place in the 
French capital. Conspicuous amid that marvellous display 
of the triumphs of human enterprise, the Word of God, 
in one hundred and seventy languages, presented its inspired 
pages to the eyes of men "from every nation under heaven " 
— swarming multitudes of every rank, class, and colour. In 
the grounds stood a depot blazoned with texts in foreign 
tongues ; and a French pastor and five colporteurs moved all 
day long among the shifting crowds, offering Gospels and 
Portions. Forty hotels and boarding-houses were supplied 
with the New Testament ; 1 20,000 Portions were given away 
among the visitors ; 15,000 volumes were placed in the hands 
of soldiers and sailors ; 6000 were circulated among the 
sergents de ville and the Gardes de Paris. No fewer than 1200 
priests received the Word of God at the depot or from the 
colporteurs. Several missionaries of the Propaganda, about 
to embark for the East, came for versions in Arabic, 
Sanskrit, and Chinese ; while one venerable cure from the 
provinces asked for and obtained ten Bibles to lend among 
the people of his parish. 

Amongst the high personages who showed their sympathy 
with the Society's efforts were the Emperor of the French, 
the Czar Alexander H., the King of Prussia, the Queen of 
Holland, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Edinburgh, 
the Crown Prince of Prussia, and Prince Galitzin, nephew 
of "the handsome little man with large penetrating eyes" 

• In 187 1 the Committee supplied the Bible Society of France with 4000 Bibles 
at reduced prices, and on the application of M. Guizot presented the Protestant Bible 
Society of Paris with 2000 Bibles and 5000 Testaments. Up to its seventeenth 
anniversary (1881) the former issued 380,000 copies of Scripture. At that date the 
older society was circulating between 10,000 and 11,000 a year. 


who laid the first scheme for a Russian Bible Society before 
Alexander I. On the 3rd June the Crown Prince spent 
some time in the depot, and accepted a copy of the Bible 
— little foreseeing how soon it was to be his companion 
on the battle-fields of France. Three days later the Czar 
escaped the bullet of the assassin Berezowski. A deputa- 
tion from the Society obtained permission to present his 
Imperial Majesty with an address of congratulation on 
his merciful preservation, and were received by him at 
the Elysee. In making his acknowledgments, the Czar 
expressed his thanks in a faltering voice, and, laying his 
hand on his breast, said : "I have always greatly valued 
the good opinion of England." Mr G. T. Edwards, who had 
charge of the work at the Exhibition, then presented a copy 
of The Bible in Every Land, and drawing special attention 
to the specimens it contained of the versions in the languages 
of Russia, offered his Majesty a Chinese New Testament, 
as China was conterminous with the frontiers of his vast 
empire. An episode of some interest to the Czar, and one 
of which we shall see the sequel later. 

There was yet another memorable presentation in con- 
nection with this splendid pageant of earthly prosperity. 
On the 13th December the Earl of Shaftesbury, accompanied 
by the Rev. S. B. Bergne and M. Vernes, the commissioner 
for the Missions Section of the Exhibition, was received by 
the Emperor of the French at St Cloud, and read an address, 
in which the Committee recorded their grateful appreciation 
of his Majesty's liberal policy towards Protestants in his 
dominions, tendered their thanks for the freedom of action 
granted during the Exhibition, and begged his acceptance 
of a copy of the Bible, the most valuable token of respect 
and gratitude in their power to offer. "We pray," they 
wrote, ' ' that your Majesty may ever find in it true wisdom 
and strong consolation ; so that when all that is fading and 
fleeting which this world can offer has passed away, you 


may have ' a building of God, a house not made with hands, 
eternal in the heavens.'" With a gracious reference to the 
Society's labours, the friendly relations of England and 
France, and the religious freedom which he wished his 
people to enjoy, the Emperor accepted the book, foreseeing 
as little as the Crown Prince what the near future would 
bring forth. 

During the seven months the Exhibition was open, 
169,376 copies of Scripture were distributed without let or 
hindrance; "the greatest victory for religious liberty in 
France for two hundred years," thought Guizot. 

Thus, with Ultramontanism making good men redden to 
the eyes and shiver to the finger-tips, with public meetings 
execrating the very name of God, with Notre Dame echoing 
the cry, " Leave us our Bible," these fateful years in the story 
of the Paris Agency closed with the Franco-Prussian war. 
While the French courier was speeding to Berlin with the 
declaration of hostilities, the Sovereign Pontiff, we remember, 
was proclaiming, amid thunder and lightning, the dogma of 
his infallibility. That was on the i8th July 1870. Within a 
week the colporteurs of the German Agency had taken up the 
enormous task of supplying the Scriptures to the masses of 
troops sweeping westward to the Rhine. Before we enter on 
that piece of work, however, let an event of some significance 
be duly observed. 

At Worms, on the 25th June 1868, in the presence of the 
kings and princes of Germany, of twenty thousand people 
crowded in the great square, and of nearly as many more in 
the windows, on the house-tops, among the branches of the 
summer trees, the Luther Memorial was unveiled. As the 
canvas fell and showed the Reformer towering over the colossal 
bronze figures of Waldus and Wycliffe, Huss and Savonarola 
—his clenched right hand pressing the Holy Bible held in 
his left, his lips pronouncing the irrevocable protest : " Here 
stand I : I can do no other ; help me, God. Amen " ^ — the 

^ " Hier stehe ich. Ich kann nicht anders. Gott helfe mir. Amen." 

1884] EINE FESTE BURG 113 

trumpets pealed out Eine feste Burg ist unser Gott, and one 
impassioned burst of song rose from the vibrating multi- 
tude. Neologism, agnostic science, materialistic philosophy, 
apathy, worldliness seemed to shrivel and perish in that 
moment of fervent heat. This, at last, was the true heart's 
cry of the German people, the avowal of the central idea of 
the Reformation, that the Scriptures were the supreme rule of 
faith and the indefeasible heritage of every son of Adam. 
And in that solemn ratification " Protestant England " took 
part through the message of Queen Victoria to the King of 

In the place of honour facing the memorial stood the 
Bible stall of the agency. Those masses of granite and 
bronze chronicled the past in colossal figures, in medallions, 
in bas-reliefs ; here, on the colporteur's table, was spread 
open Luther's own book, the great folio Bible which he 
printed at Wittenberg in 1541 ; and upon it, so curiously 
small against its ample page, lay the pocket ' ' pearl " edition 
issued by the Society. More than one peasant woman touched 
the old folio of the living Martin Luther, and turned away in 
tears ; and during two days of the celebration 859 volumes of 
the Scriptures were bought as mementoes of the festival. 

On the declaration of war the Committee gave their agents 
large discretionary powers. Palmer Davies, anticipating 
their wishes, had already taken the initiative. He was now 
sole agent for Germany, for Dr Simon had resigned in 
August 1869, and the resources of Cologne, Frankfort, and 
Berlin were in a single hand. The presses were working 
day and night on 200,000 New Testaments and 50,000 extra 
Portions. The number of colporteurs was doubled, trebled 
according to requirements. As the heavy trains stopped for 
a quarter of an hour at this or that station and the troops 
swarmed out for meat and drink, there were the Men with 
the Book. The soldiers expected them to be at their post. 
"Look," said one of a contingent which passed through 


Berlin on the first Sunday, "this is a leaf out of an old 
Bible ; no one has come to give us God's Word ; this is all 
we shall march with into battle, and perhaps to death." On 
Monday there was no dearth of Scriptures. Before three 
weeks had gone by over 30,000 copies had been sold — Bibles 
among them, not to take to the war but to be sent to the 
wife and children, "whom I may not see any more." 

Two days after the battle of Worth (6th August) the 
colporteurs crossed the frontier, and fourteen of them, on 
whom the Emperor William afterwards conferred the war 
medal, were detached for special service in France. Not- 
withstanding the approval of headquarters and warm com- 
mendations in the orders of the day, transport, board, and 
lodging gave endless trouble and hardship. Once and again 
the men lay hungry and cold in open sheds, or shared the 
cold sky with the soldiers round their camp fires ; "heaven's 
police " they came to be called long before the campaign 
ended. Mr Davies himself, in his energetic supervision of 
the work, experienced some of the hardships of the march 
and the bivouac. In July and August he spent twenty- 
three nights in railway carriages or slept under his rug on 
loose straw. He was present at the desperate sorties when 
Bazaine attempted to break through the beleaguering lines 
around Metz, and for a time on the ist September he was 
under fire. He and a companion had taken a cart to bring 
away some of the wounded. "When the battle seemed to 
be over," he wrote, "an officer asked us to fetch three 
wounded men who had been lying for more than twenty- 
four hours, unbandaged and unattended to, in a village not 
far off, which the French had succeeded in occupying the 
day before, and from which they were supposed to have 
retreated. We took a surgeon with us and set off at once. 
Scarcely had we entered the village when a chassepot ball, 
evidently aimed at an officer who was walking beside our 
cart, whizzed within two feet of my head. At the same 

1884] AT SEDAN 115 

instant a company of dragoons came galloping down the 
street and shouted that the French were in possession. Again 
the crack of the chassepots was heard, and one of the dragoons 
received a ball in the leg, and his horse two balls in the neck. 
We took him from his horse upon our cart, hurried back, 
and were soon covered by the Prussian outposts, who quickly 
advanced and cleared the village ; but we could not rescue 
the three wounded Prussians." 

During the railway deadlock in the neighbourhood of 
Sedan, Lieutenant Wolff of the Berlin depot — a swift, 
resourceful man, with the scars of six wounds received at 
Sadowa — bought a horse and waggon, lettered the tilt large, 
"British and Foreign Bible Society, London," flew the red 
cross on its white ground, and hurried up his stores by way 
of Belgium ; safeguarded his men too with red cross on left 
arm and broad Bible Society sash across shoulder and breast. 
With such precautions one may hope to get eventually to 
Paris ! A quaint drawing of the Bible waggon — the Lieu- 
tenant's handiwork — appeared in the November number of 
The Monthly Reporter for 1870 : the first illustration in the 
Society's magazines. 

On the afternoon of the ist September Sedan and a dozen 
villages were burning within the ring of batteries which 
Moltke had drawn round them. From the hill of Frenois 
King William sent down a flag of truce with a demand 
for the surrender of army and fortress, and the envoy was 
unexpectedly shown into the presence of the Emperor of the 
French, who at first wished him to convey the famous letter 
— " N'ayant pas pu mourir a la tete de mes troupes." The 
Prussian envoy, Lieutenant-Colonel Von Broussart, was the 
descendant of one of the Huguenot families which fled for 
refuge to the Great Elector when the Edict of Nantes was 
revoked ; a strange meeting, which suggests a Nemesis 
watching the transgressions of nations and kings. 

A contingent of Biblemen was attached to each of the 


advancing armies. They pushed as ,far north as Amiens, 
as far west as Versailles, Rouen, Chartres ; appeared at well- 
nigh every stage on the routes of the invasion; "policed" 
the camps ("heaven's police," as we said); visited the 
prisoners of war ; carried solace to the hospitals and the 
long trains of railway carriages used as lazarets. Mean- 
while, in the Fatherland, in forts, barracks, cantonments 
of straw huts under the garrison guns, there were prisoners 
by the ten thousand, and numberless sick and wounded in 
hospital — all cared for by colporteurs, military chaplains, 
pastors, lay volunteers, benevolent and evangelical associa- 
tions. And in Switzerland, too, where Bourbaki and his 
eighty thousand had been driven across the frontier, 60,000 
copies of the Scriptures were circulated among them. 
Christmas came, and in German homes the children around 
the Christmas-trees sang " Peace on earth, goodwill to men," 
but "when they looked about them, their fathers and big 
brothers were absent, and their mothers and elder sisters 
were weeping, for of those fathers and brothers some were 
already dead, others sick and wounded, others exposed to 
the dangers of war." Far away in wintry fields west of 
the Rhine, Christmas was kept in camp and hospital. 
"Christmas-trees were lighted in the sick wards. Rich 
presents could not be thought of. But nowhere " — (not here, 
in Orleans, at least, where some 600 Testaments with the 
Psalter were distributed as the Society's Christmas gift) — 
"was the best present wanting. There was much joy in 
reading together the history of the birth of our Lord," and 
one poor Hessian, whose frost-bitten feet had been amputated 
and whose hands were crippled, found consolation in the 
text — " It is better for thee to enter into life halt and maimed, 
rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into 
everlasting fire.''^ 

^ Infection was not the least of the colporteurs' dangers. When the sick and 
wounded began to return to Germany senior-colporteur Wick visited the typhus , 
wards in Gotha, was himself stricken down, and died after twenty-one years' servicoi/ 


The Report for 1872 shows the war circulation from the 
three German depots to have amounted to 958,113 volumes 
(9071 Bibles, 551,924 Testaments, 382,602 Portions, in 
German, French, Polish, Lithuanian, Hebrew, and Arabic). 
Of these 196,270 copies were sold among the troops by the 
colporteurs, and 464,048 were given away by them to the 
sick, wounded, and prisoners. Through affiliated societies 
and private persons 283,279 were sold or distributed gratis. 

A proposal to offer the New Testament and Psalms, as 
a memorial of the dead, to their nearest relatives was 
received in Germany with universal gratitude. Each copy 
was inscribed with the names of the departed and the 
recipient, together with the texts, John xi. 25, and Jeremiah 
xlix. 2. As the Father of the Army, the Kaiser accepted 
one in memory of all his fallen sons. In all 14,516 of these 
volumes were given away, and a number of them were 
publicly presented by pastors on the day that the Oak of 
Peace was planted in their parishes.^ 

All this war work was warmly appreciated by the 
Emperor William, who, in a personal interview, received a 
detailed report from Mr Palmer Davies, and afterwards 
expressed to him in writing his "thanks for the rich bless- 
ing which the Society had diffused among his German 

Out of the distress and entanglement of the French 
story some particulars must be added. M. de Pressense 
was in Switzerland when the war broke out ; in sadly 

' Up to 1873 the number of Memorial Testaments distributed was 15,406. 

^ Besides his usual contribution of £2$, the Kaiser gave £45 through Major 
Westphal towards the distribution of the Scriptures in the Army, — a donation which 
was continued year by year till his death in 1888 ; and — all Apocrypha troubles 
forgotten — the Wiirtemberg Bible Society, whose resources had been strained by its 
own exertions, sent a donation of ;^I25 in recognition of the Society's services during 
the war. Fourteen of the colporteurs, as we have mentioned, were decorated by his 
Imperial Majesty with the medal and ribbon conferred on non-combatants for valuable 
and faithful services. They were — Mr Beringer of the Frankfort dep6t, Mr Henry 
Hieronimus (an unpaid volunteer), and senior-colporteur Weiser, leaders of the band ; 
and colporteurs Boehme, Erhardt (driver of the Bible waggon), Fischer, Gross (a 
volunteer), Hery, Horn, Kiihn, Lutz, Nagott, Pieper, and Wettig. 


failing health, an old man now, in his seventy-fourth 
year ; had indeed arranged for his retirement, and was 
but awaiting a successor. He returned at once to Paris ; 
planned with his old skill and promptitude for the huge 
task before him ; got depots opened in suitable places ; 
had twelve colporteurs at the front early in August. 
Breton Scriptures were prepared for the men of Morbihan 
and Finistere ; Arabic for the Turcos. Large grants were 
made to various organisations — the Alsace Committee for 
relief of sick and wounded, the Geneva Evangelical Society, 
the Protestant Association of Paris with its ambulances 
and staff of chaplains, deaconesses, and Scripture-readers. 
Then the rush of German victories flung all into con- 
fusion, hopeless chaotic welter of marching and counter- 
marching, congested railways, dislocated postal system. 
Colporteurs were cut off from books and letters, shut up 
in Metz or some other stronghold, scattered out of know- 
ledge. The Committee hurried 30,000 Ostervald Testa- 
ments through the press in London, despatched them to 
zealous friends at Dunkirk, Boulogne, Marseilles, Lyons ; 
and they distributed them with such efficiency as was 
practicable, and not without affecting incidents, had one 
the space to tell them. 

Before M. de Pressense left Paris, he had sent out 
150,000 copies for war use alone. During September, 
October, and November, over 58,000 Bibles, Testaments, 
and Portions were circulated in the besieged capital and 
its suburbs. It was only a few days before the city was 
invested that the old man was persuaded by his widowed 
daughter to accompany her to some place of safety. Ever 
intent on his responsibilities, he fixed eventually on Tours 
as the fittest centre for his colporteurs. At the beginning 
of November he reckoned there were still some forty afield. 
Possibly there were fewer, for the old soldiers were called 
back to the colours. Brave, patient souls — what a time they 


had of it !— shut up in Metz, back once more in the ranks 
or on the ramparts, threatened as spies by the wild mobs, 
arrested as spies (five times, one of them), led in chains 
through the streets, thrown into freezing cells without food 
or covering. 

M. de Pressense's last letter to the Committee was 
written on the 26th December (the Christmas-trees all 
standing green, full of memories, in hospital wards here 
in France, far away yonder in German homes). He had 
gone out to the great bridge over the Loire on the 
morning of the 21st, and found himself a dozen paces 
from a squadron of Prussian cuirassiers, riding in to take 
possession of Tours. The mob flung themselves on these 
troopers, emptied three saddles with four shots ; where- 
upon the cuirassiers galloped back, and the guns opened 
fire. "Shells began to fall in all directions, one a few 
steps from where I was standing." The old man escaped 
unhurt, but his nervous system was shattered. He finished 
his letter, and fell ill in the evening. Delirium supervened 
(with eager talk of old Bible days and work), and it was 
only occasionally that he was aware of his condition ; but 
these lucid intervals were marked by a calm submission 
and a fixed trust in Christ. On the morning of the 4th 
January 1871, in his seventy -fifth year, he was released 
from his sufferings. 

When the Lord Mayor's Commission went to the relief 
of Paris, George Moore took charge of 10,000 French 
Gospels, a large proportion of which were given to the 
sick and wounded, and the rest sent to the depot for the 
use of the colporteurs.^ Including the war issues, the total 

^ A glimpse here of the Commune as George Moore saw it : — Belleville broken 
loose ; churches looted ; Tuileries burnt down ; generals captured and shot ; Arch- 
bishop Darboy and numerous priests imprisoned (shot, too, later) ; the dying deprived 
of the last offices of religion, though on one occasion an abb^ was admitted to a prison, 
his permit stating, "He says he is the servant cTun nommi Dieu" — servant of "a 
certain ' God,' " not known to us. On Thanksgiving Day, for the recovery of the 
frince ofWales (27th February 1872), when two millions of people gathered along seven 


French distribution during the year numbered 472,353 
copies, of which 369,280 were Portions. Up to the close 
of 1873, 5178 Testaments and Psalters were presented to 
widows and bereaved mothers. Seven years afterwards it 
was found that in villages among the Vosges Mountains 
the poorest children were using as school - books — the 
commune being unable to afford other "readers" — these 
memorial Testaments inscribed with the names of the men 
who had died for France. 

The total distribution to the contending armies consider- 
ably exceeded 1,000,000 copies and cost the Society ;;^ 20,000. 

We have now reached the final scene in the stupendous 
drama. In August 1870, as we have seen, the French garrison 
was withdrawn from Rome. On the fall of the Second 
Empire Victor Emmanuel was released from his pledge to 
respect and defend the territory of the Church, and advanced 
on the capital. Six colporteurs — all converts from Roman- 
ism, one a ten-years' exile — accompanied the Italian army. 
The guns forced an entrance on the 20th September ; and 
as Cadorna's troops poured through the breach, Frandini 
carried the Bible into the Eternal City. Four other col- 
porteurs entered with the column which marched through 
the Porta Pia, and with them a great shaggy-coated Abruzzo 
dog dragging its cart-load of Scriptures. Mr Bruce arrived 
on the 22nd ; on that date ten years ago he had begun 
the public sale of the Bible in Naples. Three days later, 
the first Sunday, he and his colporteurs ascended to the 
upper tiers of the Coliseum ; and, overlooking the • arena 
which had been drenched with the blood of martyrs, they 
read the account of St Paul's journey to Rome, and he 
addressed them on a passage from the Epistle to the 

miles of streets, these horrors recurred to George Moore : " The difference of the two 
scenes a perfect marvel to me. I attribute it a good deal to the fact that in our 
beloved country we read and love the Bible." — Smiles, Life of George Moore, p. 367. 


The circulation of the Scriptures was suspended until 
the plebiscite on the question of union had been taken. It 
was resumed on the 13th October. By a vote practically 
unanimous, "the Patrimony of St Peter" had been annexed 
to the kingdom of Italy, ^ and the temporal power of the 
Pope had passed away for ever. Three months had not yet 
elapsed since his Holiness had proclaimed his infallibility. 
"This was the answer of Divine Providence to the decree 
of July 18." 2 

' Result of the plebiscite : 133,681 for union ; 1507 against ; 22,360 did not vote. 
'^ Baring-Gould, The Church in Germany, p. 382. 



The temporal power had been abolished. From the Alpine 
snows to the blue waters of Pantellaria the Bible was free. 
In Rome the National Guard had taken the oath of allegi- 
ance, no longer on the Crucifix, but on the Latin Vulgate 
and the Hebrew Old Testament.^ In Rome the Gospel of 
St Mark and the Epistles of St Peter had been printed ; a 
Bible stall had been planted under the " marvellous column " 
of Trajan ; a depot, with its monitory scroll, "Search the 
Scriptures," had been opened in the Corso. Cardinal 
Antonelli's wrathful protest against Scripture distribution, 
as "an atrocious assault on the religion of the State such 
as no country in Europe would tolerate," had passed 
unheeded. In February 1872 a crowded Roman audience 
had beheld the amazing spectacle of a public controversy 
(sanctioned by his Holiness — for the first and last time),^ 
in which three priests, equipped with the works of the 
Fathers, and three Evangelical ministers, Bible in hand, 
argued the question whether St Peter ever was in Rome. 
A few weeks later — 4th March 1872 — an Italian Bible Society 
had been founded in the Eternal City. Priestly censure 
still inspired fear, and the only available place of meeting 

' In the spring of 1872 the Italian Bible took the place of the Vulgate. 

^ Cardinal de Dominicis Tosti and Prince Chigi presided on the Papal side. 
The effect of the discussion was extraordinary. One newspaper alone issued six 
editions of the report of the proceedings, and three thousand copies of the authorised 
account were sold in a single week. The Evangelical challenge on the question of the 
supremacy of St Peter was declined, and no answer was made to Gavazzi's lectures on 
the subject. 


[i8s4-i884] A BIBLE MEETING IN ROME 123 

had been the hall of the Argentine Theatre, owned by 
a Jew, which could seat no more than a tenth of the six 
thousand persons who crowded for admission.^ In that 
hushed assembly Pere Hyacinthe, still clothed in the habit 
of St Dominic, had touched a chord which vibrated in many 
hearts. His presence, he had said, was not to be taken 
for complete acquiescence in the programme of the Society; 
but there at least, united in the city which had been the 
cause of their separation, they were bound together by a 
common tie: they were all children of the Bible. "But 
we are fallen," he had exclaimed, "divided, powerless. Let 
us retrieve our position by that book, for it is the Word and 
the Power of God. . . . Protestants have not always read 
it thoroughly, and Catholics have never read it enough. . . . 
Yes, the real basis of the British Constitution is not Magna 
Charta, but something more durable, namely, the Bible. 
If Italy is to stand, you must lay the same foundation. If 
she does not bring religion to Rome — if she comes with 
nothing in her hand but scepticism and political expediency, 
the city will become her tomb." 

Yet in spite of these auspicious events, there were no 
signs of the great awakening which so many had expected 
as the immediate result of religious liberty. On the con- 
trary, the evangelisation of Italy became ever more clearly 
a complex problem which patient perseverance and simple 
dependence on the divine promises alone could solve. 
The "secular sword" of the Church had been broken, but 
the spiritual power of the priesthood remained intact. 
Religious freedom had been secured, but for tens of 
thousands it meant freedom from all religious restraint. 

^ Admiral Fishbourne was appointed president. The audience included the Duke 
and Duchess of Nassau with their suite, Signer Mamiani, one of the Senators, 
Signor Gavazzi, Mr Bruce, the agent of the Bible Society, many English and 
Americans, and ' ' very many Romans of various grades, who came with great 
enthusiasm to hail this fresh proof that they were really delivered from the spiritual 
tyranny of the Papal yoke." The Committee aided the Italian Bible Society as 
opportunity offered, but it was considered the best course that it should establish 
itself as an independent national organisation. 

124 IN ITALY FREE ['8S4- 

" We have broken the chains of one despotism, and here 
you come with another," " We do not believe in our own 
religion, and you want us to have a new one." From 
year to year throughout the period the Reports recorded 
the same experience of ecclesiastical intolerance, of indiffer- 
ence among masses of the population, of inability except 
in rare instances to awaken interest among the noble, the 
wealthy, the educated. For how little the Bible counted in 
Italian literature may be gathered from the reference of 
the Unita Cattolica to the cry of " Lazarus to Abraham " afar 
off, and the quotation, on the memorial chapel at Solferino, 
of a verse from the " Epistle of St John the Apostle to the 

A widespread illiteracy, more prevalent in the south 
than in the north, baffled the exertions of the colporteurs. 
In various cities indeed a remarkable improvement was 
taking place ; schools were springing up in connection with 
missionary effort ; and the Government had prescribed a 
system of elementary education. But the law was too often 
evaded or ignored by the very authorities appointed to carry 
it in effect. As late as 1881, among the young people of 
both sexes between twelve and eighteen years of age, the 
percentage of illiterates in fourteen of the chief provincial 
towns in Southern Italy ranged from fifty-one to eighty-two. 
In Basilicata there were said to be ladies of title, possessed of 
large estates, to whom the alphabet was an uncanny mystery ; 
and scarcely one in ten of the young men drafted into the 
army were able to write. The army itself was a great 
national school. The period of service was less than three 
years, but some proficiency in reading and writing was a 
condition of discharge. It was in this constant succession 
of young men from every province that the colporteurs 
sought the surest means of sowing the Word of Life in the 
most remote nooks of the kingdom. 

In the Universities, where one might have hoped for 


better things, the chairs were being filled with agnostics 
and infidels ; yet even in these evil conditions there were 
earnest students who disguised their love of the Scriptures 
under a desire to acquire some foreign tongue. From time 
to time thoughtful men discussed the question of religion 
in the public journals, but they had not heard or had not 
heeded the warning of the Dominican — they had not learnt 
the value of the Divine Book, which alone can exalt a nation, 
consolidate its liberties, and render its people virtuous and 

To two special difficulties a brief reference must be made. 
The opening of Rome quickened the hearts of many good 
men and women to acts of generosity which were as well- 
intentioned as they were ill-advised. A lively faith in the 
efficacy of the Scriptures, somewhat marred, perhaps, by 
a lack of humility, prompted them to make light of the 
safeguards which a long experience had proved to be 
indispensable. Thousands of free copies of the sacred 
books were scattered with an indiscriminate fervour among 
people who did not want them, who regarded them with 
suspicion, whose indifference was provoked by this meddle- 
some solicitude into positive aversion. One heard of cart- 
loads of Scriptures sent into the military camps, and of 300 
francs' worth buried in a ditch. The pages of a volume 
torn up at the Naples Exhibition did indeed lead one soul 
to Christ, but, broadly speaking, these indiscreet distribu- 
tions exposed the Word of God to dishonour, hindered the 
work of the colporteurs ("In Rome the native population, 
the Romani di Roma, as they proudly style themselves, 
will not buy the Bible at any price, and seldom consent to 
take it as a present"), and defeated the very object they 
were meant to further. 

The concentration in Rome of many systems of Reformed 
Christianity was no doubt inevitable, but, unhappily, the 
independence of their teaching and the diversities of their 

126 IN ITALY FREE [1854- 

worship did not tend to attract men, " who thought they 
cast no reflection on their forefathers by becoming atheists, 
but imagined they would greatly dishonour them by becoming 
Protestants." Mr Bruce spared no efforts to harmonise the 
operations of the various Churches, and in time a desire for 
unity of method and concerted action began to take effect. 
These denominational differences, however, accentuated the 
need for the work of the Society, whose purpose was not to 
make men Free Church or Waldensian, but to lead them 
"to the broad open table-land of the New Testament, from 
which all the ravines came down." 

It was, then, almost wholly among the working-classes, 
artisans in the towns, labouring folk in country places, 
soldiers in camp and garrison, sailors and the tens of 
thousands of emigrants in the sea-ports that the Word of 
God was received gladly. Notwithstanding the prevailing 
illiteracy there was not a village in Apulia in 1876 wherein 
you would not have found at least one diligent reader of 
the Bible, and two years later a little church of twenty-two 
communicants was formed in the very heart of that province. 
In many parts of Calabria, too, the people were waiting for 
the evangelist and the pastor. The books were condemned, 
torn up, and burnt by the priests ; the colporteurs were 
denounced as free - thinkers, revolutionaries, enemies of 
religion ; but the men of faith went on their way, strong in 
prayer, and in many small towns, and especially in country 
districts, were warmly received by the prefects and delegatos. 
In the far north, where education was more advanced, the 
sale of the Scriptures was large, considering the condition 
of the inhabitants. Among the hills of Friuli on a winter 
night families might have been seen gathered in the stable 
for warmth, with a Bibleman reading the New Testament to 
them as they span until midnight. "And all would have 
bought, had not the bad harvest and the early exhaustion 
of their chestnut flour reduced them to great poverty." It 

1884] FROM SEA TO SEA 127 

was the same in Tuscany — men, women, and children 
nestled among the straw, spinning flax, sewing, knitting ; 
all listening in silence or asking questions when the reading 

In the Italian valleys of the Grisons, in Tessino, in the 
Rivieras, in the fruitful plains of Lombardy, ravaged alas ! 
by the terrible pellagra^ the colporteurs were constantly 
coming and going. Along the Adriatic shore, where 
evangelistic work was suspended for a time, they alone 
scattered the seed of the Gospel. The ruinous inundations 
in the valley of the Po in 1872, 1879, and 1882, the destructive 
eruption of ^tna in 1879, the Exhibition at Milan in 1881, 
at which 15,000 Portions were sold, were all made occasions 
for special efforts. In Sicily three colporteurs, besides two 
men of the Scottish Bible Society, were extending the work 
in 1883, and a sub-depot was open at Palermo. Corsica 
belonged to the French Agency, but occasional assistance 
was given from Italy, and in 1877 and the following year 
an old and experienced colporteur traversed the island with 
considerable success, though his life was threatened if he 
entered certain villages. Progress was made even in be- 
nighted Sardinia. At one time in 1876 "a policeman almost 
insisted on sending a herald to cry through the streets ' Viva 
la liberta! Viva PEvangelio! the Gospel in our own tongue 
has come — make haste to buy it ! ' " But of the very faith in 
which the people had been reared there was sometimes found 
an almost incredible ignorance. In consequence of the fierce 
hostility of the clergy little could be accomplished in the 
islands off the Neapolitan coast; but in 1883, a fortnight 
after the disastrous earthquake which destroyed Casamicciola 
and a number of villages, a colporteur and an evangelist 
landed in Ischia. At the scene of the catastrophe, in which 
nearly two thousand lives had been lost, they administered 
spiritual consolation and material aid. Several of the soldiers 
searching for the dead among tumbled walls, charred timbers, 

128 IN ITALY FREE [1854- 

uprooted trees, belonged to the Military Church in Rome, 
and for three Sundays crowded services were held. Nearly 
900 Bibles, Testaments, and Portions were sold during the 
visit. "The terrors of the sternest pages of the Old 
Testament had been followed by the gentle grace of the 
New : ' the earthquake, and after the earthquake the fire, 
and after the fire the still, small Voice.' " 

We may now turn to a series of events which marked the 
course of the Italian Agency. 

At the beginning of 1872 the books of Isaiah and the 
Psalms in Hebrew and Italian were in circulation among 
the Jewish people, of whom there were about 40,000 in the 
peninsula. Under Pope Pius IX. they had suffered less 
than in the days of his predecessors, but the common rights 
of citizenship had been withheld, and the Hebrew Scriptures 
were denied a free circulation. 

In 1873, 10,000 copies of Diodati's New Testament issued 
from the press. Twenty-three years had gone by since the 
Society's first edition was bought up by the Sovereign Pontiff 
on his return from Gaeta. An edition of 5000 copies — for 
which the Committee provided paper — was also printed by 
the Italian Bible Society. In the same year the Earl of 
Chichester presided, and George T. Edwards was the deputa- 
tion, at "the first public meeting held for the British and 
Foreign Bible Society in sight of St Peter's."^ 

The first English Protestant church was opened on the 
26th October 1874. 

In 1875 the Holy Father himself drew the attention of the 
Lent preachers to the progress which the cause had made. 
"I cannot but feel grieved," he said, "at seeing within the 
very walls where rise the majestic temples of the Christian 
religion halls and congregations start up by their side where 
men pretend to worship God by heresy, which is a rebellion 
against Him." 

' During Edwards's visit in 1869 a private meeting was held, and in the following 
annual report appeared the first free contributions from friends in Rome. 

1884] THE NEW POPE 129 

In 1876 the Rev. W. Dickens Lewis attended the first 
public Bible Society gathering within the walls of Rome. 
From this time onward the capital and chief cities of Italy- 
were included in the foreign tours undertaken by the District- 
secretaries. In the course of the year the book of Proverbs 
was issued as a penny Portion, and the Italian Bible was 
published at a lira. 

The year 1876 closed an epoch in Italian history. Victor 
Emmanuel died on the 9th January ; Pope Pius IX. on the 
7th February. King Humbert accepted a copy of the Bible 
from the Italian Bible Society, and in thanking a deputation 
of Protestant pastors and laymen for their congratulatory 
address on his escape from assassination, expressed his good 
wishes for the work in which they were engaged. On the 
20th February the white-and-yellow flag with the cross-keys 
and tiara floated from the Vatican : Cardinal Pecci had been 
elected to the throne of St Peter. The new Pope, Leo XIII., 
issued an encyclical on the evils that afflicted society, their 
causes, and their remedies. The chief evil he found to be 
rebellion against the Papacy ; its chief cause religious 
liberty ; its chief cure, the restoration of the temporal power ; 
and an anathema was hurled against all who attended 
Evangelical services or schools, helped to erect Protestant 
places of worship, or circulated books prohibited by the 

When the triple crown was first placed on the brow of 
Pius IX., there was no part of Italy into which the Sacred 
Scriptures could be introduced, except by stealth and 
subterfuge, and Bible-reading was a crime to be expiated 
by long and bitter imprisonment. In 1850 his Holiness 
had warned the faithful against the "poisonous reading" 
furnished by the Bible Societies, and condemned "the 
modern art of printing," In the year in which he died 
over 50,000 copies of the Word of God were distributed ; 
and in Rome alone there were thirteen churches or halls, 


I30 IN ITALY FREE ['854- 

including the Italian Military Chapel, in which the Gospel 
was preached, while other agencies for the benefit of both 
Jew and Gentile were in active operation. 

In May 1881 Thomas Humble Bruce died in his sixty- 
seventh year — a loss not more deeply regretted by the 
Committee than by the men who had worked under him, 
some for over twenty years ; ' ' our father ; my father ; he 
loved us with a true heart." " He was always rather an 
invalid," wrote one who had known him during his long 
residence in Italy, " but I never heard a complaint escape his 
lips." To the last he was an alert and busy spirit. As he 
sat up in bed, the day before he passed away, a friend 
offered to assist him in writing to the Committee ; but his 
voice was failing ; "I can write," he said, " more easily than 
speak." Even on the day of his death, he awoke from a 
spell of sleep with the woirds, "Now it is time to work!" 
On the evening of the 26th May he was laid to rest among 
the violets and dark cypresses of the Protestant cemetery, 
skirting the road by which St Paul was led out of Rome 
to his martyrdom ; and by his grave Signor Mazzarella, 
a member of the Italian Parliament, spoke of his twenty 
years' labour and of that liberty which had dawned for 
Italy not in a constitution given by man but in the 

The work of the agency was conducted by his son-in-law 
Mr Lowe until August, when the Rev. Augusto Meille suc- 
ceeded. It was pleasant to remember that some fifteen years 
earlier Signor Meille's name had appeared in the Reports ; 
at Turin he had boldly interposed and procured bail for a 
colporteur who, "under the usual plea of protection," had 
been taken by the police and detained in prison. He had 
learned English as a theological student in Edinburgh, 
had been pastor of the church attached to the Waldensian 
School of Theology in Florence, and at the time of his 
appointment was the Italian representative of the Religious 


Tract Society, which obligingly waived its claims on his 

In October 1882 the depot in the Corso — which had been 
guarded for many a day by the great Abruzzo dog, all 
gentleness and shaggy strength — was transferred to the 
Piazza di Spagna ; not before its stock of Hebrew Bibles, 
as Meille noted, had been exhausted by the priests from the 
college of the Propaganda, that ruthless tribunal whose 
persecutions had once struck terror into the Waldensian 
valleys in which he was born. At other depots besides that 
of Rome, the Scriptures which were branded as false and 
corrupted, were readily bought by the priests in the original 
Greek and Hebrew. 

In 1883 Signer Meille laid before the Committee a graphic 
review of the religious condition of Italy. A quarter of a 
century had given a certain amount of worldly prosperity, 
but the country seemed to be drifting further and further 
from God and truth : — 

" The great majority of the professors in our seventeen Universities are 
rationalists and materialists of the worst type. . . . Our literature is infidel. . . . 
The very worst novels and books published by the scurrilous writers of 
Paris are immediately translated and largely read by men and women alike. 
Infidelity is spreading among the lower classes not only in the town but 
also in the country districts. ... I am assured that in certain towns of 
Romagna nine funerals out of ten are performed without any religious rites 
whatever . . . and that in Western Tuscany there is scarcely a village 
without its club of Freethinkers. ... It cannot be denied that many hopes 
have remained unfulfilled, that the masses are not turning to the Gospel, 
and that the Italian Protestants form only an imperceptible minority in the 

Depressing as the picture seemed to be, the writer per- 
ceived no signs of discouragement. "Wherever I go I can 
see that the little scattered churches are growing in number 
and activity, especially in the north." In 178 towns, from 
the Alps to Sicily, the banner of the Gospel had been planted, 
and the workers of all kinds, pastors, evangelists, teachers, 
colporteurs, numbered 423 persons. 




To sum up the labours of the Society : — In March 1884 its 
annual circulation had grown to 63,000 copies. Its depots 
were the armories of all the denominations and societies in 
the field. Its colporteurs, travelling over wide and unvisited 
tracts of country, were as one in ten of all the Protestant 
workers in Italy. Year by year their number had grown 
from twenty-six to forty-five — picked men, not easily found, 
patient, gentle, resourceful, prayerful, their lips touched with 
a live coal from the altar. One had nearly completed his 
quarter of a century of Bible-work ; eighteen had served over 
ten years, six over twenty-one. 

The work of distribution from 1854 to 1884 may be set 
forth as follows : — 

Lieutenant Graydon, 1854-60 
Mr Bruce, 1860-81 

Signer Meille, 1881-84 

74,002 copies of Scripture. 
811,428 „ „ „ 
192,026 „ „ „ 




We return to Fra,nce. In the stormy and distracted time 
which followed the death of M. de Pressense staunch friends 
were not wanting. The colportage arrangements were taken 
in hand by his nephew, M. Meyrueis ; the work of distribution 
was largely supplemented by means of grants committed to 
individuals and benevolent associations ; and Mr Kirkpatrick, 
the agent for Belgium, made a tour through the south of 
France to ascertain the exact position of the Society's affairs. 
The vacancy was filled in December 1871 by the appointment 
of M. Gustave Monod, who belonged to a well-known family 
of French Protestants. 

Gifted with considerable administrative ability, M. Monod 
threw himself into the business of the agency with the energy 
and initiative of a man in the prime of life. During his first 
five years in office he travelled some 22,000 miles — a distance 
about eight-and-twenty times the entire length of France ; met 
nearly every Evangelical minister in the country ; enlisted 
fresh sympathy and co-operation ; opened depots under the 
care of pastors and hotel-keepers, and — most important 
detail of all, perhaps — gathered together little groups of his 
men for discussion and mutual encouragement. Colportage 
in restricted local areas was exchanged for tours which took 
the men from their families for fifteen or twenty days together ; 
and gradually he introduced the plan of engaging a larger 
number of men for a part of their time in preference to taking 
the whole time of a smaller number. During a tour in the 



south in 1878, with the aid of Pastor Moulines, Professor 
Sabatier and M. Westphal Castelnau, he made the first 
experiment in a project for the formation of local colportage 
committees, which should examine and recommend candidates, 
direct the movements of the men in their districts, and advise 
generally on local matters. 

These changes soon produced noticeable results. In 
1873-74, when there were 55 colporteurs employed by the 
agency, only 35 of the 86 Departements were touched by 
them. There were 15 other Departements in which depots 
were open and the men of the Geneva Evangelical Society 
were at work. In yet 29 others there were 132 Protestant 
churches, several of which had sprung up from the simple 
reading of the Scriptures distributed, many years before, 
by the earlier Biblemen of the agency. Still, there were 
seven Departements, with a population of over 2,000,000, 
which no colporteurs visited, in which no Protestant pastor 
or congregation was to be found ; and in two of these, the 
Correze and the Cantal, three-fourths of the people were 
unable to read. Ten years later, the 69 colporteurs sent 
out by the agency were traversing every one of the Departe- 
ments ; the Word of God was accessible in 64 depots — 
small, it is true, with the exception of those at Cannes 
and Marseilles, but all of them frequently advertised in 
the newspapers read by Roman Catholics, and several 
held by reputable Roman Catholic booksellers whose names 
were published as depositaries of La Sainte Bible. 

Amid the numberless details of a great agency Monod 
found time to translate into French the beautiful story of 
Mary Jones and Her Bible, and the little volume was issued in 
1 883 by the Toulouse Society for the Publication of Religious 

Years of impotent hatred, of angry sorrow for the lost, 
of furious revolt against all religious restraint, of reckless 
demoralisation, of embittered poverty and heavy taxation 


were those which immediately followed the war. Here and 
there, indeed, the breath of the Divine Spirit seemed to be 
kindling a new life — "a little fire in a wild field"; but the 
mass of the population sullenly resented the discipline of 
Providence. Many old difficulties were again encountered 
in pursuing the Society's work. In Paris the law against 
street colportage was rigorously enforced by the police ; 
the concierges prevented access to private houses ; to offer 
the Scriptures the men had to seek the places of resort 
frequented by various classes in the evenings. Entrance 
to barracks, forts, camps was forbidden. The officers might 
be met with at their cafes; the rank-and-file were to be 
found only at the wine-stores, which were often places of 
the lowest description. On the contrary, among the German 
garrisons, so long as the occupation lasted, the colporteur 
was a welcome visitor with what the French bourgeois vilified 
as "a Prussian book." A reversion was made to the old 
departmental system of authorisation. After MacMahon's 
election to the Presidency the functionaries throughout 
France were immediately changed, and everywhere old 
Imperialists were put in. In a large measure Ultramontane 
intolerance regained its ascendancy, and applicants for 
colportage licences were exposed to the most arbitrary 
treatment. For three years the colporteurs were excluded 
from Lyons and the Departement du Rhone without any 
assigned reason. 

On the formation of the Royalist and Imperial "Ministry 
of May 16," 1877, all colportage licences were revoked by 
an edict aimed at the Opposition journals, and considerable 
time and money were wasted in making fresh applications. 
Happily, these annoyances were to have a speedy end. At 
the general election in the autumn the country declared 
itself republican by an irresistible majority; reactionary 
prefects resigned or were removed ; the restrictions on the 
press were withdrawn ; and all who were engaged in the 


evangelisation of France enjoyed an unembarrassed liberty 
of action. Finally, by the law of 27th July 1881, an 
"authorisation" was no longer required for colportage. It 
sufficed that the man declared his intention to sell the 
Scriptures, and he was entitled to receive a written acknow- 
ledgment of his declaration. 1 

If ecclesiastical hostility took many forms, the Church of 
Rome paid at least one tribute to the work of the Society, 
and in a measure contributed to the furtherance of its 
purpose. As early as 1870 fifty-five French and foreign 
prelates signed a remarkable address to the Holy See. 
They referred to their " keen affliction in seeing the alarm- 
ing extent to which Protestants were supplying Catholic 
families with the Bible — thus lowering the holy faith in their 
eyes, and attracting their children to Protestant schools." 
"Nothing in these days," they declared, "could prevent 
the reading of the whole Bible among the laity," and they 
besought his Holiness to sanction the publication of Abbe 
Glaire's version,^ which would "deprive Protestants of all 
pretext for unjustly charging the Catholic Church with 
hindering the faithful from reading the Word of God." In 
January 1873 the papal authorisation was granted, and in 
due course the complete Bible appeared in four volumes 
at a cost of ten francs. A scholarly translation from the 
Vulgate, safeguarded with customary notes, it was just such 
a version as the Hohenzollern Bible which, a few years 
before, had drawn together the little church in the heart of 

The relaxation in regard to colportage occurred oppor- 
tunely on the eve of the Paris Exhibition of 1878. Permits 
were readily granted for the provincial men whose help was 
needed, and extreme courtesy and kindness were shown by 

^ One of the brightest avenues into the future was still barred. The budget for 
the Paris schools, which in 1870 had been 6,000,000 francs, was now 18,000,000, 
but in all the schools the Bible was prohibited. 

^ The Abbe's New Testament was issued as far back as l85i. 


all engaged in carrying out the police regulations. An 
application (made under the Ultramontane regime) for leave 
to erect a Bible kiosk in the Exhibition grounds had been 
refused, but a chalet had been built on a neighbouring plot 
of freehold land bought for the purpose, and in the British 
section a position was obtained for a show-case contain- 
ing a complete collection of the Society's versions in 250 
volumes and 216 languages. By a strange inconsistency, 
while articles of all kinds might be purchased in the Exhibi- 
tion, the sale of the Scriptures was forbidden ; and a bronze 
medal was the frugal acknowledgment of an exhibit which 
testified to the highest linguistic achievement and to three- 
quarters of a century dedicated to the civilisation of the 
human race. 

The event was not marked by any of the salient incidents 
of the Exhibition of 1867, but 17 16 copies of the Word of 
God were sold, and 406,664 — mostly Portions — were given 
away. . The immediate result was seen in an increased 
demand for Bibles and Testaments from the colporteurs ; 
and in after years there was evidence that that large dis- 
tribution was bearing fruit. 

But the outstanding event of 1878 was the strong anti- 
clerical reaction, which seemed to be disposing the minds 
of men to a consideration of the Gospel. In the Departe- 
ment of the Creuse, at one time fanatically Ultramontane, 
theatres were thrown open to evangelical pastors and lay- 
men. The religious question and its Protestant solution 
had become of vital interest to many who had ceased to 
believe in Rome, but who feared that in forsaking their 
old Church they might lose hold on all religion. In ten 
Departements a remarkable movement towards Protestantism 
became apparent, and halls could scarcely be found large 
enough to contain the crowds that flocked to these spiritual 
"conferences." What urgent need there was then in France 
for tongues as of fire and the rushing of a mighty wind was 


vividly traced by the Abbe Bougaud in his picture of the 
life of a priest in the sterile solitude of a rural district : — 

" He arrives in the parish the bishop has assigned him, young, and in 
all the ardour of faith and zeal. What does he find there? ... In this 
little parish ravaged by indifference, he finds nothing. He has quitted all 
in order to serve souls ; he calls them and he does not find them. In the 
morning when he has said the Holy Mass he has before him a long day 
and nothing to do. And one day follows another and all are alike, and 
thus weeks pass and months. . . . And not only solitude, but mistrust, 
suspicion, odious suspicion. Souls do not come to him ; he would wish 
to go to them, and he dare not. He seldom leaves his cure, and he does 
well, for all his movements are secretly watched. His very devotion is 
made a crime. I asked a young priest one day how he got on in his little 
parish. 'In the week,' he said, 'tolerably. But on Sunday it is frightful. 
I arrive at Mass. I find there about thirty women, two or three men. 
What to say to them ? I could rather weep than speak. At vespers, no 
one. I shut myself up all the evening in my presbytery ; but I cannot so 
shut myself up, so bury myself, but what I hear the songs of the men who 
brutahse themselves at the public-house, and the violin accompanying the 
dances which lead away the women and girls. It is heart-rending.' " ^ 

Unhappily Protestantism itself, smitten with the blight 
of materialism, presented its own dark picture. In the 
Lozere, with its many so-called Protestant churches, there 
were pastors who denied the divinity of our Lord and the 
resurrection of the dead, and who cried for deliverance from 
" this double scourge of Paulinism and Bibliolatry." In 
places in the Lot et Garonne, where Reformed congrega- 
tions were strongest, distribution among Roman Catholics 
was checked by the scorn of Protestants who paraded their 
unbelief in "the old-fashioned book." In towns in the 
Pas de Calais, where one looked for prosperous Bible-work 
among the numerous English residents, the colporteur who 
expected "to find a friend in every Protestant was soon 

How welcome, then, were these tokens of a visitation 
of the Spirit of Light! In 1879 evangelical services were 
allowed in the Chateau of Versailles, in which the Edict of 

' Bougaud, Le Grand Piril de VEglise de France, 1878, pp. 28-29. 


Nantes had been revoked by Louis XIV. nearly two centuries 
before ; regular conferences were held several days a week 
in all the large cities ; in a great number of smaller towns 
the theatres and town halls were thronged ; and again in 
1880 the same intense interest in the work of evangelisation 
was manifested. What was the secret of this stirring of 
the heart among the people of France? It was not the 
appeal of the evangelist and the preacher : these were only 
sent when they were asked for ; it was the awakening of 
the seed of the Divine Word which the colporteur, uninvited 
and unknown, had scattered in silence and hope during 
bygone years. 

A word about these devoted men. In 1873 we have a 
glimpse of the veteran of the corps — the silver-haired Dehon, 
hale and vigorous in his eightieth year. He had been the 
youngest of nine brothers. Eight of them had joined the 
colours under Napoleon, but this Benjamin his father could 
not spare ; longed to have him a priest, and sent him to the 
Petit Seminaire of Meaux. Through Meaux, when the lad 
was seventeen, came marching the 12th Regiment, with the 
eldest of the brothers as Captain. The seminarist was taken 
out to dinner, and that same evening threw off his cassock, 
enlisted, and was away to the wars. This was in 1810. 
Four of the brothers were killed before Waterloo ; on that 
blood-stained field three more perished, but he escaped ; 
and the Captain fell in Spain. In 1828 Dehon was garde- 
champetre and secretary to the mayoralty of Fluy in the 
Somme. There he found his Saviour while reading some 
tracts left on a table in an auberge ; brought crowds to the 
revival preaching in the Somme in 1835 ; and in 1837 
shouldered the book-box of the colporteur. In 1874 he was 
yet afield; in 1875 he took to his bed, and at the foot of 
it hung his box, " like the harp upon the willows " ; in 1876, 
all the fire of life quenched save in his patient eyes, he lay 
speechlessly waiting the Master's call. Requiescat! 


Beside this octogenarian the oldest of his colleagues seem 
young — Audeoud, sixty-seven, who has served seventeen 
years ; Rabel, sixty-seven, who has served six-and-twenty, 
and will shortly retire to take charge of a small depot at 
Havre ; Laffargue, sixty-four, who has served thirty-eight, 
and will live to celebrate his jubilee as a Bibleman in 1889. 

They were regarded at the best as humble workers, but 
some of them were men of standing among their own people. 
Anastay was a maire in the Vaucluse when he became a 
colporteur. He was prepared for sacrifices, but was persuaded 
to retain his office. The great majority of his constituents 
were Roman Catholics, but he was twice unanimously re- 
elected to his old position. In the Basses Pyrenees Bernata, 
who for many summers was engaged by Miss Beamish, 
Miss Yorke, and other friends to visit the shepherds among 
the mountains, had a small farm of his own and was returned 
to the municipal council. Even in the mean streets of Paris 
the high character of the colporteur won respect and affection. 
"When Carl lost his wife (in 1879) his neighbours, all 
Roman Catholics as poor as himself, made a collection for 
a beautiful wreath to place on his wife's grave, and gave him 
forty-one francs to meet his extra expenses." The piety of 
Bolloch was long remembered in Finist^re. " We all called 
him ' the Pagan,' " said the hostess of the inn at Pont Croix. 
" One evening, long after he had retired, and when I thought 
he was asleep, I went to his room to get something, and there 
I found my pagan on his knees, praying. Great was my 
surprise, knowing how tired he was. I have seen many 
travellers, but never one on his knees. This one must have 
been a saint." 

As one thinks of these sowers of the Word, numberless 
scenes light up in the memory. Now it is a village in the 
Aveyron. Old Laffargue finds a Bible or a Testament in 
every house, and meets a shepherdess who is never without 
her Testament, which she reads to her companions while the 


flocks graze. Now it is the port of Marseilles — discouraging 
Marseilles, where so little was accomplished until a new 
depot was opened in 1880 ^ — and Tourn boards a Swedish 
ship, sees no one on deck, but' hears, a far-away sound of 
singing. Captain and crew are in the cabin. They had 
learned Sankey's hymns in Liverpool. Never a day that 
they do not join in praise, and read a chapter of the Bible 
together. Tourn can send a keen truth home, when need 
be. On one occasion a man refused the Bible because "it 
was an immoral book." " Have you read it?" "Certainly 
not!" "Well, if it had been an immoral book you would 
doubtless have read it long ago." 

Or it is the region of the disastrous inundations of June 
1875. Leagues of ravage along the flooded river valleys ; 
hundreds of lives lost. The Lot et Garonne districts are left 
to the sympathy of the Scottish Bible Society ; but among 
the sufferers in the Upper Garonne, the Upper Herault, the 
Tarn, and the Tarn et Garonne, Terrier, Lance, and another 
are at work. Four thousand five hundred copies of the 
New Testament, appropriately inscribed, are distributed as 
a gift, and gladly received ; and even in this time of dearth 
sufficient is collected by the people to purchase 700 volumes. 
Or now it may be a churchyard in the Jura ; and a child's 
coffin lies beside an open grave. The cur^ does not come, 
and Terrier is asked to offer up a prayer. He prays in 
simple French, which all may understand and feel. How 
much better than the Latin ! — he hears the bystanders say. 
Terrier has no need of inns, and is sure of a kindlier shelter 
than a dripping tree. From his own savings and the gifts 
of friends he has bought a donkey and a van which is his 
house and depot. 

Perchance it is winter in the Vosges, where a Protestant 
parish has been founded. For the first time the candles will 
be lit on a Protestant Christmas-tree, and Jacquet hangs on 

' In one of Mr M'All's mission stations. It cost the Society £12 a year. 


its branches twenty New Testaments as Christmas gifts. 
Perhaps it is winter in the Orne. Deep snows ; and wolves 
run near the villages. In broad day three of the savage brutes 
track Depierre for nearly an hour. He reaches a market- 
town, and makes some impression. Unable to set the people 
against him, a bigoted notary offers him "one hundred 
francs in gold," if he will sign a paper pledging himself 
never to return to the place. Or, perchance, it may be Les 
Sables d'Olonne in the Vendee, where twelve members of 
the Protestant congregation are the fruit of colportage. A 
gentleman is dying, and Lance is at his bedside. He 
had bought a Bible of Lance three years ago, and has 
sent for him now ; makes him promise that the Protestant 
pastor shall bury him; and breathes his last in Lance's 

Scenes numberless, as we have said. One sees, in flashes 
as it were, Havre, Rochefort, Rochelle, with their crowds 
of shipping ; Carcassonne, Narbonne, Laval, little communes 
like those in the Gers, where the colporteur passed and 
congregations sprang up in his footprints ; ^ the Quai de la 
Jolieth alive with linesmen and hussars going out to quell 
the Arab tribes in Algeria ; ^ troops at Toulon, embarking 
for Tonquin ; the He du Re, where convicts are assembled 
for transportation to New Caledonia ; a Corsican town with 
priests "screaming" anathemas against "Satan's work," 
and a mob seizing poor Franchi to fling him into the sea. 
Colportage was started in Corsica in 1873, on the suggestion 
of the Rev. J. Owen Parr of Hinstock, Salop, who contributed 
towards the expense. For a time the task was given up, and 
Mr Bruce intervened, but another attempt was made from 
Paris, and in 1881 we read of an open-air meeting held by 
lantern-light under the olive trees and attended by the mayor 

' In November 1882 the Commune and Municipal Council of Chatel-Guyon voted 
for the erection of a Protestant church and the appointment of a pastor — a striking 
instance of the divine influence operating through colportage. 

^ Marseilles, 1881 ; when 6000 Gospels were distributed " one by one." 


and the magistrate, though the Eastern customs of the island 
prevented women from taking any part. 

Brave, patient, apostolic labourers ! " It is with tears 
I say adieu to colportage," wrote Puech, "but it is now 
beyond my strength " ; and when the end came another old 
Bibleman left the Society a legacy of 150 francs. 

In the course of these years many grants were voted by 
the Committee for the benefit of orphanages, Protestant 
colleges, schools, and medical missions, hospitals, the blind, 
military and other Bible classes, and prisons. Among 
the organisations, religious and philanthropic, which were 
assisted, was the celebrated M'All Mission, which spread 
so many fruitful branches over the country. 

In 1877 the Committee contributed ;^ioo towards the 
expenses of the Bible and Tract depot in Paris, under the 
direction of Mr George Pearse. The project met with great 
success ; in 1880 the establishment was reorganised ; more 
ample accommodation was provided for the Religious Tract 
Society and the Bible Society, and the subsidy of the latter 
was raised to ;^i5o. 

As in Italy, so in certain parts of France, the Society 
experienced the injurious consequences of indiscriminate 
benevolence. In Paris, where three of the seven colporteurs 
were withdrawn in 1880 on account of the increasing number 
and activity of Christian workers, there were so many 
facilities for obtaining the Scriptures gratis that it was 
extremely difficult to effect sales among the working classes. 
And what results could be expected in Brittany while 
English travellers left Portions scattered by the roadsides 
for the people to pick up? With a Bible selling (since 
1873) at one franc, and a New Testament at four sous, free 
distribution could scarcely be justified save in exceptional 

The visits of the District-secretaries kept interest alive 
in the various English colonies, whether of workmen and 


artisans or health and pleasure - seekers. In 1875 an 
Auxiliary was formed and a depot opened at Cannes, and 
two years later similar measures were taken at Boulogne 
through the energy of Colonel Campbell and other friends. 

A translation of the Gospel of St Luke in French Basque 
was issued in 1868, and in 1878 a revised version, the work 
of an anonymous Basque scholar, passed through the press. 

The question of adopting Segond's French version began 
to engage the thoughts of the Committee in 1876. Its 
"indisputable superiority to all others" was strongly urged 
by many of the Protestant pastors and elders in France, 
but it was felt that certain passages, especially among the 
Messianic texts, called for revision, and in 1882 the matter 
was postponed for further deliberation.^ 

Attention was called in 1883 to the need for a version in 
Proven9al for the use of the rustic population in the Var and 
the Bouches du Rhone. A beginning was made with the 
Gospel of St Luke, but the progress of this undertaking 
belongs to a later period. 

Once more we reach the landes, the hollow ways, the 
apple-garths, the blue-blossomed flax-fields, the granite 
Calvaries of Brittany. In 1871 the Rev. John Jenkins, still 
at Morlaix, supervised another edition of his Breton New 
Testament — the fifth he had passed through the press in 
twenty-five years. In 1863 the Psalms by Legonidec had 
been added ; separate Portions had afterwards been issued ; 
and the work of distribution had been carried on by one or 
two colporteurs. In 1872 the veteran translator died, and 
was succeeded at Morlaix by his son, the Rev. A. Llewellyn 
Jenkins. In 1873 the revision of Legonidec's version of 
the Psalms was completed by the Rev. James Williams, 
sometime pastor at Quimper. The New Testament was 

' The admirable version of the Old Testament by Louis Segond, Docteur en 
Theologie, was published at Geneva in 1874, at Nancy in 1877, and again in Geneva 
in 1879. His translation of the entire Bible was issued by the Oxford University Press 
in 1880. 

t^^x .L^li-zyr C^iwiM4s/' ^AJ. ^yz/^i^-f 


thoroughly revised in 1883 by the Rev. A. Llewellyn 
Jenkins, Pastor Bouhon of St Brieuc, and M. Rohan, the 
Breton poet and Keeper of the Records ; and 7000 copies 
of the Breton text and 5000 of a diglot edition (Breton and 
Ostervald revised) were ordered in 1884. As late as 1883 
the curh had not ceased Bible-burning, but the temper of 
the people was changing. In Belle-Isle-en-Mer, off the 
Morbihan coast, an undertaker bought a Bible, ' ' for the use 
of dying persons who refused the attendance of a priest." 

Let us now sum up the Society's operations in France. 
The total expenditure in connection with the Paris Agency 
from 1854 to 1884 amounted to. ;^2i8,905, an average of 
;^7296 a year. 

The receipts from the agency for the sale of Scriptures 
came to ;^76,o86, an average of ;^2536 a year. 

The Bibles, Testaments, and Portions sold and otherwise 
distributed during the thirty years formed an aggregate of 
4,164,604 copies. 

Monod's agency (1871-72 to 1883-84) . . 2,047,7301 

Pressense's agency (1854-55 to 1870-71) . . 2,116,874 


To these it may be interesting to add the following : — 

Pressense's agency (1833-34 to 1853-54) . . 2,381,583 
Kieffer's agency (1820-21 to 1832-33) . . . 73O1650 

Pre-agency period (1805 to 1820) . . . 975i32o 

Total distribution from 1805 to 1884 . . . 8,252,157 

1 Of these 2,000,000 the colporteurs sold 832,000 or 40'6 per cent. ; other 
Societies disposed of 207,960, or lO'i per cent. ; 131,139 or 6-4 per cent, went in 
ordinary grants ; and the distributions among the troops and at the Exhibition 
of 1878 accounted for 573,541 copies, mostly Portions, or 28 per cent. 




In the first flush of the new Empire the hearts of many in 
Protestant Germany were stirred to the achievement of two 
other ideals of strength through union — a Church for the 
Fatherland, so broad in its basis as to include every Christian 
communion ; a National Bible Society, whose appeal to the 
sympathy, energy, and liberality of the Fatherland should 
leave no room for British co-operation. In February 187 1 
the latter project was laid before the thirty or forty German 
Bible Societies in a circular which, unfortunately, betrayed 
both ignorance and prejudice in regard to the great parent 
organisation. It was spoken of as "a foreign society " which 
opposed the revised version of Luther and sought to pre- 
scribe to the German Churches forms that deviated from their 
ecclesiastical traditions. The position and intentions of the 
British and Foreign Society were warmly vindicated by the 
heads of the Prussian and Stuttgart Bible Societies, who 
pointed out that, so far from aiming at a monopoly of Bible- 
work in the Fatherland, their English friends earnestly 
desired that their labours should be superseded by the 
activity of the native organisations. On the main question 
they agreed that the object contemplated in the circular 
would be best attained by a confederation of the existing 
Bible Societies. Otherwise no definite steps appear to 
have been taken, and the scheme for a Pan-Germanic Church 
was lost sight of in the pressure and excitement of a vital 



The intellectual revolt against the dogma of Infallibility 
had issued in the Old Catholic movement, and in a sequel 
so formidable as to involve the civil supremacy of the State. 
The aggression of Rome may be said to have been trans- 
ferred from the battle-fields of France to the very hearths of 
the German people. On that protracted struggle with an 
arrogant ecclesiasticism it is unnecessary to dwell ; but it 
must be noted as one of the conditions in which the work of 
the agency was carried on. It will suffice, too, if we suggest 
other conditions, as little favourable to the work, though 
deplorably indicative of the need for it. On the one hand the 
democratic theories of Lassalle had thrown great masses of 
the working population into a ferment of atheistic socialism ; 
on the other, Strauss had formulated in The Old Faith and the 
New the conclusions of extremists, that Christianity was a 
thing of the past and religion of any kind an illusion and 
a lie. 

It was at junctures such as this that the best energies of 
the Society were called forth. Year after year fresh editions 
of the Scriptures — issues ranging from 300,000 to 470,000 
copies — left the press at Berlin, Leipzig, Frankfort, Sulzbach, 
Cologne. Summer and winter the colporteurs were tra- 
versing the six-and-twenty states of the Empire. Between 
1870 and 1884 their numbers varied from 50 to 75, and the 
average expenditure on their maintenance amounted to ;^336o 
a year.i The altered conditions of life after the war had 
brought them money cares and anxiety for those dependent 
on them at home, but in 1872 a higher scale of wages and 
an investment scheme for making provision for old age 
restored the usual joyous spirit to their wayfaring. Scanty 
record survives of these good men, but glimpses of one or 
two bear testimony for their comrades. There was Zachert, 
who frequented the Waters of Hirschberg at the foot of the 

' From 1870 to 1878 the expense of one of them was borne by Mr H. B. Jackson 
of Manchester. 


Giant Mountains, a hale "Bible-bearer" of sixty and more, 
who had distributed 84,000 copies during twenty-one years 
of service ; Adel, who gave his savings, nearly ;^g, as a 
donation to the Benevolent Fund ; old Orlowski, who 
retired in 1879 after thirty-one years of colportage, and for 
whom there was ever "the wind on the heath, brother." 
" Had my good wife been still with me," he wrote, " I 
might feel better off. But she is gone, and my work is 
gone, and much else is gone. What remains is a broken- 
down body. May God soon take me home ! When I 
read 'the reports I have no rest within the four walls of my 
house. I cannot range the land with my Bibles, so I rush 
into the open field to get breathing-room, so strong is the 

What strange scenes memory must have brought back 
to most of them ! Scenes of an existence undreamed of 
in England — life on the Vistula ; Polish rafts with their 
ragged half-savage crews ; huge homely German barges 
with wife and chicks on board, bringing down in bulk the 
wheat and rye, barley and oats, linseed and rape of the 
Galician farms ; great quadrangular mounds of grain 
unshipped on the river bank at Dantzic ; hundreds of 
Casubian girls and women with their shovels, flinging the 
corn in long curves through the sunshine to air and dry it : 
Wendish life in the Spree Forest; miles of water, grass, 
and sky varied by miles of water, wood, and sky ; silences 
unbroken by song of bird or cry of beast ; a wild roadless 
barefoot Protestant country, where folk skate to market, 
church, and school in winter, and walk or wade in the 
summer, or punt along the network of three hundred streams. 

And what chequered experiences ! Yesterday it was the 
fanatical shriek, "They are Lutheran books; tear his knap- 
sack off his back, and throw it into the fire ! " To-day it is 
a nod from the Kaiser on the gay promenade at Baden- 
Baden, and the friendly greeting, "The Empress will come 


by and by to make some purchases. I daresay you reckon 
her and myself among your very best customers." "It is 
quite true, Herr Kaiser " — quite true at least of her Majesty, 
who visited the colporteurs nearly every year from 1867 to 
1 88 1, and if she did not buy many books, paid right royally 
for what she did buy. To-morrow it may be a cheering 
word from Moltke in his castle grounds: "Bibles, your 
Excellency." "Good! no living man ought to be without 
a Bible. In my house you will also find Bibles. But 
what do your books cost ? " So a copy of each sort will be 
bought, and the great soldier will ask how long he has 
been a colporteur, where he lives, what wages he gets, and 
send him on his way with a lighter heart. ^ Or it is an 
incident under the humble roof of a weaver : a little girl 
hears for the first time of the words " Suffer little children " ; 
the colporteur lays his finger on one of the new Bible maps, 
"Here Jesus was born, a little babe in an ox's stall ; here 
He died on the cross that we might be saved " ; the child 
thinks of her savings-box ; father and mother, not unmoved, 
exchange quick glances: "We have often wondered what 
her first purchase would be ! " 

A yearly circulation which fluctuated between 297,000 and 
385,000 gave assurance that, however hostile the influences 
of the time, there still prevailed a simple faith in the truth 
and power of the Holy Scriptures. Nor did these figures 
stand alone. The Scottish Bible Society was widening its 
sphere of usefulness, and the native organisations were 
fitting themselves to satisfy the requirements of the Father- 
land. In 1874, for example, when the issues of the agency 

' Another of the Paladins was a Bibleman. At Varzin, shortly after the Sadowa 
campaign, Bismarck used to call his people together once a week for the reading of 
the Scriptures. On one of these Bible evenings a colporteur chanced to call at the 
castle, and when the household assembled, the Count announced : ' ' There is a brother 
here this evening, a. Bible colporteur, who knows far more about these things than I 
do. I beg him to come forward and conduct the meeting." And the Iron Chancellor, 
who took a humble part in the worship, listened attentively to the exhortation of the 
Society's Bible-bearer. 


amounted to 258,000 copies, the Prussian Bible Society 
distributed 1 16,000 ; the Wiirtemberg 38,400 ; the Elberfeld 
17,800; the Saxon 14,200; while smaller bodies brought the 
total issues of the German societies up to 210,000. 

Among the Old Catholics the Word of God was the 
rallying point of those who had revolted against the 
pretensions of the Sovereign Pontiff. Mr Palmer Davies 
put himself in communication with their leaders, and 
considerable supplies were provided for their churches in 
Germany and Switzerland. 

On the cession of Alsace-Lorraine depots were opened 
at Strasburg, Miilhausen, and Metz, and three colporteurs 
were carefully selected. Five were at work when Mr Davies 
visited the province in 1877, but in a population of a million 
and a half the distribution did not exceed 8700 volumes. 
All but a fifth of that large population, however, belonged 
to the Church of Rome. The fires of fanaticism were fed 
with political hatred. The people were warned that Bible 
circulation was a Prussian device for subjugating their 
country. By a singular coincidence, too, on the very day 
on which the statue of the Immaculate Conception was 
crowned at Lourdes,i the miraculous vision of Lourdes was 
repeated in the " Whortle-wood " of Marpingen. Pilgrims 
trooped to the hallowed spot, among them the Princess 
of Thurn and Taxis, sister of the Empress of Austria ; 
Prince Radziwill came from Rome with the special bene- 
diction of his Holiness for the devout miners and peasants 
of Marpingen ; and, as at Lourdes, the miraculous waters 
became an object of traffic with all parts of the world. 
"Surely," wrote Mr Davies, "if anywhere God's pure 
Word is needed, it is in such a place as this and under 
such circumstances." 

While the Society were eager to provide for every need, 
they practised a wise economy. In the spring of 1874 

' The 3rd of July 1876. — See Kemen, The Marpingen Apparitions. 


H.R.H. Prince Christian suggested the publication of the 
Bible in Piatt Deutsch, or Low German, for the people of 
Sleswick-Holstein. On inquiry, however, it was ascertained 
that no edition had been printed for two and a half centuries, 
that the language itself had been discontinued in the pulpit 
and in the schools, and that the reappearance of such a 
version would not justify the expense of its production. 

We note at the same date the last of an interesting system 
of distribution. It was in 1868, or earlier, that the Baroness 
de Riidt, who acted as secretary of the Carlsruhe Auxiliary, 
took thought for the numbers of young journeymen who 
spent their wander-jahre — the term of travel fixed by law or 
ancient use between apprenticeship and mastership — roam- 
ing from place to place to perfect themselves in their craft. 
Her name spread to distant cities. The "wanderers" spoke 
of her to comrades in France, in Bohemia, in Austria, in 
Switzerland, in Rome ; and in the course of a few years 
many thousands of artisans and mechanics went to her, 
sent in their "Wander-books" (containing name, age, 
country, and an attested list of all places at which they had 
stayed), and received an inscribed copy of the Scriptures, 
with a few stirring words of exhortation. In 1874 the 
good Baroness completed her own "wander-years," and 
this curious use of an old custom appears to have ceased. 
Many kindly references have been made to the Children 
of Israel in the course of these volumes. We have now to 
record the accomplishment of a splendid piece of work on 
their behalf. In 1876 Professor Delitzsch completed his 
translation of the New Testament into Hebrew, It had 
been his dream to produce such a text as the Apostles 
themselves might have penned, had they written in "the 
language of Canaan," and for the greater part of his life 
he laboured continuously at his task. Franz Delitzsch was 
born at Leipzig on the 23rd February 1813, the very month 
in which Napoleon's Grand Army was streaming home in 


a rabble across Europe. He came of Christian parents of 
humble origin, but as he grew up a kind-hearted Jew 
helped to provide for his education. That debt he repaid 
by his brilliant contributions to Hebrew scholarship and by 
his masterpiece which he committed to the custody of the 
Society, and for which he woufd accept no remuneration. 
The first edition of 2500 copies was exhausted within a few 
months of publication in 1877. A second appeared in 1878, 
the third in 1879-80 — each revised in the light of thousands 
of letters from rabbis, clergymen, scholars, missionaries, and 
the proofs were read by Mr S. R. Driver, one of the revisers 
of the English Old Testament. The fourth edition, which 
appeared in 1882, was electrotyped. The text was now 
regarded as fixed ; it was read with delight in Persia, in 
India, in many a distant city of the wandering people ; but 
to the close of his life the distinguished scholar continued 
to perfect his masterpiece. ^ 

On the celebration of their golden wedding (nth June 
1879), the Kaiser and the Empress Augusta were presented 
with an address of congratulation, in which grateful reference 
was made to the fact that for more than seventy years the 
Royal House of HohenzoUern had from time to time given 
public proofs of personal interest in the sacred work of the 

A few months later — 24th September — twelve of the 
German Bible Societies met in conference at Stuttgart for the 
consideration of measures to make their own work so efficient 
and comprehensive that the parent Society might gradually 
be relieved of all responsibility. With a combined annual 
circulation of less than a quarter of a million volumes to meet 
the requirements of nearly forty-five millions of people, that 
consummation seemed still remote ; and Mr Palmer Davies 

1 On his seventieth birthday, the 23rd February 1883, he was presented with a 
New Testament in Greek and English, "as a slight mark of the Committee's high 
appreciation of his gratuitous services, and in token of their thankfulness to God for 
prolonging his valuable life." 


strongly deprecated any relaxation of efforts in a country 
which was called Protestant but was numerically more Catholic 
than Spain, and which, if it were Protestant, depended solely 
on the Bible for its religion. 

Eighteen - eighty was the jubilee year of the German 
Agency ; and the retrospect of half a century was strangely 
illuminative. In 1830 the Society's issues for the whole 
world slightly exceeded 430,000 copies. For the last three 
years the circulation in Germany and Switzerland alone 
came within 100,000 of that figure. Up to 1830 the Society 
had printed 165,779 German Scriptures of all kinds; the 
total was now nearly 12,000,000. In 1830 Dr Pinkerton was 
sole agent for Central, Eastern, and Southern Europe ; his 
continental charge was now divided among independent 
agents in Berlin, Vienna, Odessa, Constantinople, Rome, 
Lisbon, and Madrid. Tens of thousands of copies had been 
distributed among the half million of Jews in Germany ; over 
1,000,000 copies had been placed in the hands of the Roman 
Catholics, and the activity of the Society had compelled the 
Holy See to sanction the publication, with notes, of a version 
of the Bible, which the diocesan bishops now sanctioned 
without notes. 

Mr Palmer Davies returned to his post after an interest- 
ing visit to England in December 1880. A few months later 
he was laid in his honoured grave, at the early age of fifty- 
five and in the twenty-fourth year of his agency. He left 
an organisation so trim — tried colporteurs, depots in charge 
of veterans, or the sons and assistants of veterans ^^ — that 
his successor, Mr James Watt, for fourteen years agent at 
Odessa, was able to manage both agencies until other 
arrangements were made for South Russia. 

One of the new agent's first official acts was the presenta- 
tion of magnificent copies of the Bible to the Grand Duke 
and Grand Duchess of Baden (daughter of the Kaiser) on 

' Ziegler of Berlin, Hoppe of Frankfort, Jacklen of Cologne, Rudolph of Breslaii. 


their silver wedding, and to their daughter, the Princess 
Victoria, who was married to the Crown Prince of Sweden 
on the same day, 20th September 1881. In February 1883 
the silver wedding of the Crown Prince and Crown Princess 
of Germany came round, and Mr Sharp the Secretary and 
Mr Watt (who were also bearers of a letter from Lord 
Shaftesbury) were permitted to offer the congratulations and 
good wishes of the Society. Their Imperial Highnesses 
graciously accepted a copy of the Scriptures ; and in the 
course of some talk on the Bible-work of the world the 
Crown Prince mentioned that the Bible which had been 
presented to him at the Paris Exhibition in 1867, and which 
had been his companion through the Franco-German war, 
he had given to his second son. Prince Henry, who had 
begged it of him on his first going to sea. 

Early in 1884 the Committee invited Major Westphal 
to the position of an Honorary Life Governor. The Major 
was now eighty-six, and seven-and-twenty years had gone 
by since he succeeded his aged father-in-law, Mr Eisner. 
During that time he had circulated 351,627 copies of 
Scripture among the troops of the Fatherland, and the total 
distribution since the scheme was started in 1831 stood at 
778,974 copies. 

During the period the blind were not forgotten, and 
many a touching episode might be told in that connection. 
At Hamburg, Bremen, and Stettin thousands of families 
seeking new homes beyond the sea obtained the Word of 
God as the last memorial of their country. The Sunday 
schools, unknown in Germany in 1862, had steadily in- 
creased, and in 1880 (the centenary of English Sunday 
schools) there were 2000, with 10,000 teachers and 200,000 
scholars. War was not the only calamity which appealed 
to the ready sympathy of the Society. When the dunes 
gave way in the winter of 1872, and the Baltic burst for 
leagues over the lowlands of Pomerania, Mecklenburg, and 


Holstein ; during the Elbe floods in 1876 ; when vast tracts 
of the Rhine country were inundated in 1883, agent and 
colporteur were at hand to offer the one unfailing source 
of consolation. 

Between 1854 ^^^ 1884 the total circulation from the 
three agencies in Germany was about 8,017,800 copies.^ 

From i860, when distinct accounts began, up to 1884 
the expenditure on Germany was ;^667,2i6. The sale 
receipts for the same period amounted to ;^277,268, or 41 "5 
of the expenditure. The expenditure, however, included 
the cost of work done in Germany for the benefit of other 
countries. Consignments of Scriptures were despatched from 
the depots to London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, Stock- 
holm, Vienna, St Petersburg, Odessa, Baghdad, and Ispahan ; 
and the versions that left the press included Tibetan, Persian, 
and Hebrew. 

Free contributions were received from lovers of the Bible 
both in Germany and Switzerland. Exclusive of ;^iooo paid 
in London by a German baron for special work among his 
countrymen at home, these amounted between 1868 and the 
end of the period to ;^4822. The list included the small 
Auxiliaries which have already been mentioned, "landed 
proprietors, bankers, merchants, medical men, pastors," and 
many humble folk whose gifts are pleasant to think of — 
7s. from guests at a silver wedding, 20 francs from a Swiss 
maid, £2, 19s. 7d. from four colporteurs, yearly sums of 8s. 
or gs. from a children's Bible Society at Memel ("for 
Scriptures to be sent to the Turks and Persians "), 20 thalers 
(£2, i8s. 4d.) from a shoemaker who still read the Bible 
given him by the Society in his poverty thirty or forty years 

^ The following figures show the total circulation of the three agencies from 
Pinkerton's time : 

Frankfort, 1830-1884, over 5,083,000 
Cologne, 1847-1884, over 3,099,000 
Berlin, 1S56-1884, over 3,879,900 



before, and 48 kreutzers (is. 4d.) collected on two Sunday 
afternoons, after addresses on the Society's work, by the 
pastor of "a very poor congregation in the Taunus 
Mountains." Under this head should perhaps be included 
;;^i30 subscribed by English and German friends towards 
the expenses at the Diisseldorf Exhibition of 1880, at which 
over 47,000 Portions were distributed gratuitously, mostly 
among Roman Catholic visitors, and Scriptures to the value 
of ;^35 were sold.^ 

One unfortunate difficulty remains to be noticed — the 
recurrent opposition of some of the German Bible Societies 
to the omission of the Apocrypha. They warmly acknow- 
ledged their origin, and their indebtedness to the parent 
Society, but strangely ignoring the fact that Luther, they 
themselves, the English Churches, and the Bible Society 
were at one as to the books which form the canon of 
Scripture, they emphasised their warning to the uneducated 
multitudes whom they themselves were unable to supply 
with the Word of God — "Whoever wishes to have a com- 
plete Bible must not buy one from an English colporteur." 
And these "English colporteurs" were their own country- 
men, devout members of their own faith, and, whenever 
possible, were chosen with the advice of their own pastors. 

The period closed with the Luther Quater-centenary. The 
agency took no official part in the enthusiastic celebrations, 
but readily co-operated where their assistance was needed 
for gifts of the Scriptures. A deputation from London 
visited the Wartburg, the "romantic old Hill-castle over- 
hanging Eisenach and the general Thuringian Forest," and 
such portions of the Augustinian monastery at Erfurt as 
had escaped the fire of 1872.^ Twenty Bibles and New 

' The gift was in part due to a poem, published in several journals, which a lady 
wrote on the contemptuous answer of a door-keeper— i3«e Bibel draussett! [" Out- 
side for the Bible "]. 

^ Truly the most romantic of Hill-castles—' ' Magician Klingsohr having sung 
there, St Elizabeth having lived there and done conscious miracles, Martin Luther 
having lived there and done unconscious ditto." — Carlyle, The Prinzenraub. An 


Testaments, representing the editions of Luther's version 
published by the Society, were presented to the Library in 
the very room at the Wartburg in which Luther wrote a 
great part of his translation, and a free grant of Testa- 
ments was made to the hospital in one part of the Erfurt 

The least showy, but perhaps the most important incident 
in connection with the festival was the publication of the 
Probebibel, or tentative edition of a revised Luther Bible, the 
work of a body of pious and learned German divines. In 
its final form it was hoped that it would prove a bond of 
union between the various German Bible Societies, and lead 
to their virtual, if not actual, amalgamation. In that hope 
the Committee most heartily joined. 

We pass to Switzerland. There too for some time the 
course of events was disturbed by religious troubles. In 
1868 a fierce crusade against the Bible began in Neuchatel, 
and spread like fire through the Protestant cantons of 
French Switzerland. Within a twelvemonth free thought 
had taken the shape of "Liberal Christianity" — of "a 
Church without a priesthood, a religion without a cate- 
chism, a worship without mysteries [sacraments], a morality 
without theology, a God without system." Three years 
later the Confederation entered on its violent policy of 
enfranchisement from all forms of religious and "sacerdotal 
tutelage," with the amazing result that the ministry of 
the National Protestant Church was thrown open to men of 
every creed and of none. 

During these years of excitement, the distribution of the 
Word of God reached its highest point. Broadly speaking, 
the work had now been divided between the German Agency 
as a source of supply and the Swiss Bible Societies — the 

incident at the Augustinian monastery forms the subject, as we have noted, of Mr 
Ward's picture at the Bible House. 


Basel, St Gall, Berne, Geneva, Lausanne, and others — as 
distributing organisations. The agency printed and pro- 
vided the Scriptures at a low price ; the societies found 
their own depots, colporteurs, and Bible carriages. At the 
same time the co-operation of the parent Society was not 
restricted to these lines. It too had its depots — at Berne, 
Schafthausen, St Gall, Geneva, Neuchatel, and, later, at 
Zurich; and from these a yearly average of 12,000 copies 
found their way through the country. But this represented 
less than a fourth of the whole Swiss circulation.^ From 
time to time, as a favourable opportunity occurred, col- 
porteurs were also employed in districts outside the range 
of other Biblemen. It was reported in 1878 that the dis- 
tribution of the Scriptures compared with the population 
was as one copy to every fifty-two of the inhabitants, a ratio 
which "far exceeded the proportion in Germany, and would 
compare satisfactorily with the most favoured countries." 

The thoughts of the Committee often went out to those high- 
land valleys in the Grisons in which ten thousand Protestant 
mountaineers, shut in by snowy passes for nearly eight 
months of the year, had preserved the light of the Reforma- 
tion and the tradition of the Bible as the book of the people. 
In 1867 there was again so great a dearth of Scriptures in 
the Engadine that even the pulpit Bibles had disappeared, 
and pastors were compelled to read from manuscript the 
chapters they wished to use at divine service. An edition 
of the New Testament and Psalms in Lower Roumansch 
(Churwelsche), revised and modernised in spelling by two 
pastors, Justus Andeer of Fuldera and Nicolas Vital of 
Fettan, was issued in 1869. The whole Bible, similarly 
edited, appeared in 1870, and in ten months 1166 copies 
of the Bible and New Testament were sold, one for every 
ninth person. 

' During the eight years 1868-69 — 1875-76 the total circulation was 440,989, of 
which 98,368 were sales from these dep6ts. In the next eight years the total was 
444,625, of which 93,630 were dep6t sales. 


Editions of the Bible and New Testament, revised by 
Kirchenrath Darms of Flims and Pastor Candrian of Zillis, 
were published in the Oberland or Ladin dialect in 1872, 
and nearly 1000 copies were sold in the course of the 
year. In 1882, however, the circulation of these versions 
averaged about 300 copies a year ; and as they were found 
to be of little use where the Upper Engadine dialect was 
spoken, the Committee assisted Mr Mathieson of Mildmay 
in the reissue of Pastor Menni's New Testament in Upper 
Roumansch, the language of about 45,000 people. Twelve 
hundred copies were. ready for circulation in 1882, but two 
years later it was a subject of lament that, with a few bright 
exceptions, neither pastors nor people felt any concern in 
the cause of the Bible. . 

The work in the Confederation was not confined to the 
Swiss. During the ten years (1872-82) in which the St 
Gothard Tunnel was being made, a floating Italian popula- 
tion, estimated at some 20,000, presented a wide field for 
Bible operations. Spring after spring, when the passes 
were clear, troops of navvies and artisans poured over the 
Alps, seeking employment on the railways and other public 
enterprises, and spreading over the country to the French 
border fortresses and into Southern Germany. Their needs 
seem to have been first noticed by Mr Mirrielees (one re- 
members him in Russia in the Crimean days?), who started 
a small Auxiliary at Vevey for the benefit of two or three 
thousand of them labouring in the Rhone valley near Lake 
Leman. The Geneva Evangelical Society began colportage 
among the St Gothard gangs ; shortly afterwards Basel, 
Berne, Lausanne, and other societies combined in a scheme 
of Evangelistic and Biblical operations ; and in 1878 a diglot 
St Mark, Italian and German, was issued by the agency.^ 

A tragic mystery hangs over a portion of this field. In 

^ The issues of Italian Scriptures in Switzerland and Germany rose from 2076 in 
1872 to 9230 in 1875, and 10,319 in 1876. 


September 1880, shortly after sending in a cheery report 
of his progress, Garuti, a gifted colporteur-evangelist from 
Basel, suddenly disappeared somewhere in the wild and 
bigoted region between St Gothard and Lugano, and no 
light was ever thrown on the circumstances of his death. 
In their discouragement the Basel friends abandoned the 
undertaking, but in 1882 Mr Watt found an Italian to take 
up the dangerous work. 

The jubilee of the Bible Society of the Canton de Vaud 
(Lausanne) was celebrated in September 1877, that of the 
Evangelical Society of Geneva in June 1881, and at each the 
representative of the British and Foreign was conspicuously 
welcomed. During its half-century the Lausanne Society 
had circulated about a quarter of a million copies, a number 
larger by several thousands than the population of the 
canton, and had granted votes in aid of work far beyond 
its borders. 

The sympathy of the Committee was called forth in 
September 1881 by the tremendous landslip from the 
Risikopf which destroyed the village of Elm in the Canton 
Glarus. Of its thousand inhabitants nearly two hundred 
were buried beneath the masses of mountain which fell 
over meadows, pastures, and forest ; and the Committee 
joined the Y.M.C.A. of St Gall in presenting the Scriptures 
to the survivors, who had lost everything but life. 

Worn with age and failing health, Mile. Gruet applied 
in 1881 for release from the voluntary duties which she 
had fulfilled so long. Nearly thirty-seven years had gone 
by since she and Lieutenant Graydon opened the little depot 
at Neuchatel. As a young man Mr Palmer Davies had 
lived for some time under her father's roof; and she was 
a depositary before his successor Mr Watt was born. Her 
place was not easily to be filled ; in the last year of the 
period she was still at her post, and it was through her 
that the Neuchatel Bible Society then presented a donation 


of ;^2o in token of their gratitude for the Society's services 
rendered during half a century, and enhanced for many 
years by the zeal and helpfulness of Mile. Gruet. No one, 
single-handed, had done so much for Switzerland as this 
lady of humble position, small resources, and delicate health. 
When she began, the population of her canton was under 
70,000; in 1884 it was about 104,000. In the interval she 
had distributed 157,000 copies of the Word of Life. 

On the occasion of the Swiss National Exhibition at 
Zurich in the summer of 1883 the Committee and the Swiss 
societies combined to furnish a kiosk, from which 73,000 
copies (chiefly Gospels) were circulated, and many hundreds 
of the polyglot booklet St John iii. 16, were sold. One 
cannot even conjecture the remote spots to which these may 
have been carried by the numbers of visitors attracted by 
the St Gothard Tunnel. 

The total circulation of the Society in Switzerland during 

these thirty years exceeded 1,400,000 copies. The following 

figures, however, indicate the progress effected at different 

stages : — 

Lieut.-Graydon, 1854-55—1859-60 . . . 112,228 copies 
Frankfort Agency, 1857-58—1869-70 . . 498,888 „ 
1870-71— 1883-84 . • 796,716 „ 

Distribution prior to 1854 .... 162,603 „ 

Total from 1830 to 1884 . . . . i,57o,436 „ 




Every hope of Bible-work in Spain had vanished, when 
suddenly the revolution of 1854 swept the reactionaries from 
power. The new regime proclaimed the sovereignty of the 
people and liberty of conscience, and an unexpected prospect 
opened on the Committee. The friends at Gibraltar seized 
the chances of the moment. The Spanish stores at the 
depot and the stock of the Christian Knowledge Society were 
packed on a mule-train, hurried across the frontier by a 
colporteur, and eagerly bought up by the people, many of 
whom came seventy and eighty miles in wild weather and 
across roadless country. The Rev. George Alton, one of 
the Gibraltar secretaries, proceeded to the capital to organise 
a system of distribution. The law excluding Spanish books 
printed abroad still prevailed, and after consulting the heads 
of the provisional Government he printed 10,000 Bibles and 
Testaments in Madrid. The official sanction needed for 
their circulation was refused, and the veto of the censor — an 
ecclesiastic — was followed by a warning that on the issue 
of a single copy the whole would be confiscated. Appeals 
and protests were useless. In July 1856 the fleeting episode 
of popular sovereignty and liberal institutions ended in the 
smoke of Serrano's guns, and three months later the repres- 
sive Constitution of 1845 was restored under the premier- 
ship of Narvaez, "the man of the stick and the gag." 

The incident cost the Society something over ;^25oo. 
About ;^i57o had been spent on the Madrid editions, which 


[1854-1884] RUNNING THE BLOCKADE 163 

now lay sealed under the sharp surveillance of the authorities. 
They were seed in the seed-sheet, as time was to show, 
awaiting the season of the sower. 

The printing of the Spanish Scriptures was resumed at 
home. An edition of the New Testament, the expense of 
which was in part defrayed by a valuable gift from the 
Spanish Evangelisation Society, appeared in 1858 ; the 
complete Bible (Valera's version) was finished in 1861 ; in 
1865 another edition, in larger type, was in the press, and 
preparations were in train for yet a third with marginal 
references. In the meanwhile supplies were placed at the 
disposal of the Evangelisation Society and of a French com- 
mittee interested in the spiritual progress of the Spaniards, 
and grants were voted to private friends through whose 
furtherance they reached their destination. At Gibraltar 
work was vigorously carried on among the garrison, the 
shipping in the bay, the native population and visitors, but 
a cautious reticence was observed as to the ever-increasing 
intercourse maintained with persons in all parts of Andalusia 
by the energetic colporteur Escalante. In one way or 
another several hundreds of volumes were passed yearly into 
Spain, notwithstanding the serious risks incurred both by 
the distributers and the readers of the Word. Escalante 
himself was arrested while selling his books at one of the 
celebrated fairs, and after a protracted legal struggle bSrely 
succeeded in obtaining his freedom from the Court of Appeal 
at Seville. Others, whose only crime was that they had 
"searched the Scriptures," were less fortunate. In 1862 
Manuel Matamoros and Jose Alhama were sentenced to ten 
years' imprisonment as " Protestant propagandists." The 
remonstrances of Protestant Europe produced no effect, 
unless it were to whet the inquisitional spirit and to multiply 
the dangers of espionage. 

During these years of reaction in Spain, a marked 


improvement was taking place in Portugal. In 1858 the great 
mass of the nation was roused to indignant resistance by the 
insidious designs of the Ultramontanes, who aimed at the 
control of female education by the introduction of French 
Sisters of Charity and Lazarist confessors. An association 
was formed by the most enlightened and influential men in 
Lisbon to check the intrigues of the Jesuits ; and public 
opinion, which proved strong enough to exact a ministerial 
pledge against the encroachments of Rome, found its loftiest 
expression in a manifesto from the pen of the historian 
Herculano, vibrating with the supreme faith of the Bible 
Society : — 

" The only true morality is in the Gospel of Jesus Christ : let our 
children be instructed only by this book, and not by catechisms which have 
been manifestly got up to serve the sinister ends of the priesthood. One 
of the greatest services which this association could render to the nation is 
to propagate the Gospel in very cheap editions, so as to come within the 
reach of everybody's means." 

As time passed, the growth of liberal sentiments and 
the tendencies toward religious toleration became so marked 
that in 1864 the Rev. William Tiddy visited Portugal on- 
behalf of the Committee. His report on the prospects of the 
cause was most satisfactory. The importation of Portuguese 
books printed abroad was prohibited, but there was no 
legal impediment to the printing of the Bible in Portugal, 
and nothing beyond the hostility of the Papacy and the 
superstition and illiteracy of the people to prevent its circula- 
tion. In the course of the year the Rev. F. H. Roughton, 
who had resided in the country and knew the language, was 
appointed agent at Lisbon ; separate Gospels of Almeida's 
version, revised for idiom and orthography, were at once 
put to press, colporteurs were obtained, and work was 
begun. In 1865, 5000 Bibles and 10,000 New Testaments 
were available, and the country was being explored by six 
Biblemen, whose sales for some time ran to 500 and 600 
copies a week. The Jesuit missionaries were furious. They 


reviled the colporteurs as infidels who denied the existence 
of God and the immortality of the soul, and denounced the 
Scriptures with such violence as to excite the ridicule of 
the people and to disgust even the parish priests. The 
more formidable opponents of the movement took a more 
destructive and vexatious course. The right of printing 
was beyond question ; they attacked the legality of selling 
books which they declared to be spurious and proscribed 
by Holy Church. Colporteurs were arrested ; detained in 
prison, sometimes for months ; liberated without apology 
or redress, or brought to trial before a jury prejudiced by 
the animosity of the priests, and sometimes intimidated by 
the threat of excommunication. In three notable cases 
in which the men had been condemned in inferior courts, 
the conviction was annulled by a higher tribunal, and in 
one instance the Bishop of Oporto, at whose instigation 
the accused had" been thrown into prison, was ordered to 
restore the Bibles and Testaments he had seized. In 1868 
the English Ambassador, Sir Charles Murray, drew the 
attention of the Ministry to these abuses of power and per- 
versions of justice, and an assurance was given that the 
judicial authorities should be directed to confine themselves 
within the limits of the law, which did not prohibit the sale 
of the Scriptures. 

There were, of course, many conscientious officials who 
dealt out impartial justice, pronounced the Society's books 
genuine, and refused to make a distinction between the 
Protestant text of Almeida and the Roman Catholic version 
of Figueiredo ; ^ but even among the well-intentioned there 
were men of position who dreaded trouble — "Have the 
goodness to go away, I don't want a disturbance," — and 

' Joao Ferreira d'AImeida : originally a Roman Catholic missionary, but date of 
conversion and time and place of death uncertain ; version revised by Tranquebar 
missionaries, and completed (Daniel-Malachi) by a Dutch minister at Batavia, 1748. 
The Roman Catholic version (published in twenty-three volumes with annotations in 
1781-83) was the work of a learned ecclesiastic Antonio Pereira de Figueiredo, a pupil 
but afterwards a strong opponent of the Jesuits and of the usurpations of the Papacy. 


others who knew that they were powerless against an out- 
break of bigotry — " Be off without delay, or they will kill 
you ; I can give you no protection ; you don't know this 
people as I do." In any case legal decisions and ministerial 
injunctions had little effect on ecclesiastics who exalted their 
Church above all law, who could too frequently count upon 
the timidity or obsequiousness of magistrates, and who 
seldom scrupled to turn to advantage the prejudices and 
passions of the crowd. But harassed though they were by 
rancorous abuse, false charges, seizure of books, arbitrary 
arrest, the colporteurs never wholly lost heart. If they 
were brow-beaten by one administrador, another examined 
their stock with a friendly smile, and a Bible or New 
Testament was bought while an order to the police was 
being written on their behalf. In one place the school-boys 
attacked them with stones, or ruffians lay in ambush on the 
roads they were expected to take, or the priest tore a book 
to shreds and dashed the fragments in their faces ; in 
another a priest bought and encouraged his flock to buy, 
or a schoolmaster urged fathers and mothers to get Testa- 
ments for the children. In more than one village where 
the "false Bible" had been denounced from the altar the 
colporteur was asked to wait by the wayside when he left, 
so that the senhor padre might not discover who obtained 

The sales by colportage were within a score or two of 
16,000 in 1867. No doubt hundreds of copies, surrendered 
in obedience to the bishop's pastoral or extorted by the 
threats of the priest or the Jesuit missionary, had been 
destroyed ; but already the effects of the work were visible 
in the prayer meetings and Bible classes held in Oporto, 
Lisbon, and the sea- port of Olhao on the Mediterranean, 
where many believers among the working classes were 
asking for teachers to be sent to them. 

To the surprise of the clerical party a depot was opened in 


Lisbon in 1868 ; to their chagrin the Government showed no 
sign of disapproval ; and unseemly outbursts of priestly rage — 
" Cursed be these books, and cursed be he who sells them " — 
were counterbalanced by the appreciation of public men — " I 
am exceedingly glad that such a shop has been opened ; there 
ought to be one in every city, as a witness to the Word of 
God." The sales did not go far to cover the expense, but 
the well-stocked shelves and the open Bible in the window 
were a standing evidence, in full view of the capital, of the 
legal position and undisguised purpose of the Society. 

By this time the excitement of novelty had begun to 
subside. Those who had long desired the Scriptures had 
obtained them ; the inquiring and the curious had been 
satisfied; the opportunity of purchasing "the forbidden 
book," merely because it was forbidden, had lost its first 
attraction ; and in 1868 the colportage sales fell to some- 
thing over 10,000 copies. The illiteracy of the great mass 
of the population also restricted the work, and during the 
next sixteen years the average annual distribution little ex- 
ceeded 4000 copies ; but this smaller figure might be taken 
as the measure of the steady evangelistic effort which was 
producing a real influence upon the nation. 

Early in 1870 Mr Roughton accepted the post of English 
chaplain at Pernambuco ; the affairs of the Society were 
placed in charge of a committee of supervision organised by 
Mr Bergne during a visit to Lisbon, and the business of 
the depot was intrusted to Mr J. E. Tugman, an English 
resident. Though there was still no lack of petty persecution, 
the spirit of hostility was less aggressive, and an occasional 
incident lit up the prospect with the promise of a more perfect 
ideal of freedom. In the market-place of the ancient city 
of Evora a colporteur was assailed by a priest for selling 
the Protestant Bible in violation of the law. The colporteur 
boldly appealed to the Archbishop, and, to the amazement 
of the priest, his superior informed him, in the colporteur's 


presence, that he had himself a copy of the same Bible, and, 
although the Apocrypha was wanting, the book was genuine, 
and could therefore be bought by the people. At Santo 
Alegro a dozen priests surrounded the same colporteur, 
bought a copy of the Scriptures, and gleefully burnt it before 
his face. With threatening cries they ordered him from the 
market-square ; he refused to leave, was promptly arrested 
for "resisting the authority of the priests," and hurried off 
to prison. The people followed in an excited crowd, demand- 
ing by what right the man was detained, and after a heated 
altercation the regedor listened to the advice of his friends, 
and the colporteur was set at liberty. Finally, the powerful 
voice of the press was raised in protest against bigotry and 
malevolence : — 

"The Omnipotent God had given liberty to the soul. Let the Catholic 
party avoid political egotism and that system of intolerance which proclaims 
the slavery of the mind. The happiness of man rests on the Gospel of 
Christ, but the Church should shed abroad a light that illumines, not a fire 
that burns ; society should be composed of believers, not of fanatics." 

At this point we turn once more to the troubled story 
of Spain. In the winter of 1866 Mr G. T. Edwards and 
the Rector of Witchampton visited Madrid. They found the 
country drifting rapidly to disaster — the Queen under the 
influence of an intriguing priest and a nun who counter- 
feited the stigmata of the Saviour's Passion ; ^ the ministry 
pledged to undisguised tyranny ; right of speech and freedom 
of the press abolished ; electoral laws altered by decree ; 
municipalities dissolved ; legality trampled under-foot ; Chris- 
tianity itself, with its imagery, its pageants, its Whitsunday 
bull-fight "in honour of the Holy Ghost," a short remove from 
paganism.^ In such circumstances they saw it was impossible 
to further the cause of the Society. In June 1867 the Govern- 

' Her Majesty's confessor, Padre Claret, who held the preferment of the arch- 
bishopric of Cuba, and Sister Patrocinio, the so-called "Bleeding Nun." 
"^ Hume, Modern Spain, p. 455. 


ment consented at last to the removal of the 10,000 Spanish 
Bibles and Testaments which had been detained for nearly 
twelve years under the eye of the censor, and they were 
conveyed across the frontier and put in safe keeping at 

The end came with circumstances of tragic irony. In 
1868 Pope Pius IX. sent Queen Isabella the Golden Rose. 
That beautiful symbol — a cluster of roses and rosebuds on 
a thorny stem, all wrought of pure gold — is blessed by his 
Holiness on the fourth Sunday in Lent and bestowed on 
the royal lady who, in pious act or intention, has shown 
most zeal for the Church. On the 8th February, in token 
of "the protection of God to His well -beloved daughter, 
whose high virtues made her a shining light amongst 
women," the Rose was presented to this royal lady whose 
court and whose life had been "the scandal of Madrid and 
all Europe."-' Within eight months the guns of Topete's 
war-ships and the strains of Riego's Hymn (the Spaniards' 
Marseillaise) sounded over Cadiz Bay the knell of the dynasty ; 
on the 27th September the royalists made their last stand, 
and then merged into the ranks of the insurgents ; on the 
30th the Queen arrived a discrowned fugitive at Bayonne. 

With strange irresolution the leaders of the revolution 
shrank from the task of reconstruction ; but the provisional 
Government issued a broadly liberal manifesto, and Lord 
Shaftesbury received an assurance of sympathy and good- 
will from General Prim, who had often declared, when an 
exile in England, that if ever he rose to power the Bible 
should have free course in Spain. The Committee took 
action without delay. The Rev. J. G. Curie resigned his 
post as chaplain to the Prussian embassy, and became the 
Society's agent in Madrid. The Scriptures at Bayonne 
were brought back into the country, and once more the Word 
of God was in circulation. The import law still shut out the 

^ Field, Old and New Spain, p. 145. 


Spanish supplies available at Gibraltar, Lisbon, and other 
stations, but large editions were put to press in the capital, 
while consignments in French, German, Dutch, and other 
languages were forwarded from the Bible House. Hasty 
tours were made through the provinces, and from Bilbao 
to Almeria, from Talavera to Barcelona, arrangements for 
colportage, depots, sub-depots, sale through booksellers 
and tradesmen were completed in sixty-eight towns and 

Eighteen-sixty-nine was a year of high enthusiasm. A 
special fund was started for the printing and distribution 
of a million Spanish Gospels. The Cortes met ; the forces 
of bigotry defeated the claim to absolute religious freedom, 
but the concession of toleration to foreigners and Spaniards 
who abandoned Romanism abolished at least one of the 
worst forms of Papal despotism. On Sunday, 28th March, 
the Holy Communion according to the Protestant rite was 
administered in Madrid for the first time since the days of 
Philip IL It had long been a hope and a belief that the 
seed sown by Borrow, Graydon, and others had not wholly 
perished — that many who never separated from the Church 
because they dreaded her vengeance had lived and died in 
the light of the Gospel and had left its simple teaching 
among their children. In the safety guaranteed by the new 
constitution evidence appeared on all sides of the blessing 
which had rested on that early work — places of worship in 
Seville and Barcelona, Malaga and Valladolid and Cadiz, 
Zaragoza, Cordova, and Cartagena ; crowded services ; people 
going from great distances to listen to the Bible message. 
In Madrid, where five or six chapels had been opened, the 
Reformed Spanish Church, founded at April 1868, 
had drawn together a congregation of eight hundred persons, of 
whom at least one hundred were communicants. The demand 
for the Scriptures, especially for the complete Bible, exceeded 
all expectation. It was read by tradesmen and artisans in 


their moments of leisure ; peasants arrived from places ten 
or twelve leagues away — from pueblos notorious for their 
fanaticism — to purchase two or three score copies at a 
time. Free gifts were rare, but a generous discretion was 
allowed in meeting the needs of the poorest, and the poorest 
were everywhere, for heavy taxation, political disorder, and 
depressed trade had impoverished the country. In 1869 
considerably over 38,000 copies were sold by the small band 
of colporteurs ; more than 88,000 had been dispersed among 
the cities and towns with which arrangements had been made, 
and the number of these had increased to eighty-six. A 
common cause united the agency with the kindred societies 
and the various Christian workers who were labouring for the 
welfare of Spain. ^ Then, and later, its resources were gladly 
placed at their service ; their schools were supported with 
ample grants ; and every available means of co-operation 
was adopted. 

Seventy thousand Bibles and Testaments and 240,000 
Gospels and Portions — the first instalment of the Million 
scheme — had left the press ; other large editions of Valera 
were in progress, and ample accommodation was required. 
Suitable premises were taken in a thoroughfare leading to 
the busy historical plaza, the Puerta del Sol, and for the 
next fifteen years the struggle between the Reformation and 
the Inquisition centred round the depot in the Calle de 
Preciados. Before the end of '69 Mr Curie's health failed, 
and on his resignation a few months later he was succeeded 
by Mr Corfield, who had been sent out to share the increasing 
burden of the agency.^ 

Five-and-twenty colporteurs were now employed. In 
Galicia with its green English landscapes, in the Asturias 

^ Among individuals in Madrid may be mentioned Dr Knapp, the biographer of 
Borrow, who was training twenty or thirty young Spaniards as evangelists, conducted 
four Sunday schools, and had several large halls in which services were held five nights 
in the week. 

^ Richard Corfield, as we shall see, had just returned home after twelve years' 
service in Brazil and the Argentine. 


and Leon, in the vast plain of La Mancha, among the 
snowy sierras of Granada, in the Balearic Islands, the 
Word of God was reaching the people of Spain, despite 
the turbulence and insecurity caused by the long delay in 
filling the vacant throne. Some sixty towns and hamlets 
were visited, and over 9000 copies were sold in the course 
of three months in Catalonia alone. In some localities 
little difficulty was experienced ; in others the colporteur 
offered his books amid wild scenes of tumult and exe- 
cration ; but there were few places in which he did not 
find some one to welcome him and bid him God-speed on 
his mission. Stormy demonstrations marked the opening 
of the depot at Valencia, and the depositary was repeatedly 
threatened with assassination ; at Segovia a plot to burn 
the Bible stall and its contents was thwarted by the officials, 
who gave the colporteurs a whistle to summon help when 
needed; at Barcelona the Vicar- General of the diocese 
advertised the reward of a rose of gold for the person who 
delivered to his curate the largest number of " Protestant 
and impious books. "^ 

The work entered upon a bright if temporary phase. 
Priests and friars who had been led to embrace the truth of 
the Gospel now went forth to teach the pure faith of the early 
ages. Old churches, sequestrated by the Government, were 
turned into Bible halls and places of evangelical worship. 
Schools were multiplying in connection with missionary effort, 
and requests for preachers came from remote villages where 
the colporteur had stood the brunt of fanatical violence. The 
windows of the agency displayed a book seen for the first 
time in living memory — a Family Bible ; and even hostile 
eyes were arrested by the embossed pages of St John's 
Gospel for the blind. No opportunity of spreading a know- 

^ A warning was added against indiscreet zeal in buying books for the purpose, 
' ' for by so doing they would only help the propagators by the augmented gains they 
would derive, although they sold their books at such shamefully low prices." 


ledge of the Scriptures was neglected. The Society's 
versions, in 124 volumes, were presented to the National 
Library in Madrid, and cordially acknowledged by one of 
the Secretaries of State ; and 430 books in eleven Oriental 
and European tongues were distributed among the fifty 
municipal libraries recently founded throughout the kingdom, 
on the distinct stipulation that in each at least one copy 
in Spanish should be accessible to the public. The Com- 
mittee would have gladly done something for the children 
of Spain. Painfully alive to the ignorance and superstition 
of the great mass of the nation — in a population of 16,000,000 
three - fourths were unable to read or write — the Govern- 
ment had freed education from ecclesiastical interference 
and established municipal schools in all the leading towns. 
The introduction of the New Testament was proposed, but 
so serious a ' ' concession to Protestantism " was beyond 
the daring of the most democratic Cabinet. 

Besides the various Spanish editions, the Gospel of 
St Luke in pure Guipuzcoan was printed for the Basque 
provinces from plates presented by the Rev. J. E. Dalton ; 
George Borrow was revising his Gitano translation of the 
same Gospel,^ and the Committee were seeking for an editor 
to undertake the revision of the Catalan New Testament. 

So ended 1870. It was the year of Papal Infallibility and 
of the downfall of the Temporal Power : the Bible had entered 
Rome with the Italian troops : the legions of Germany were 
camped round beleaguered Paris.^ 

The fund for the Million Gospels closed in 1871. The 
list of subscriptions contained no entry more touching in its 
interest than the ;{^6o raised by the poor congregations of 
Italy, which included Rosa Madiai and others who had 
suffered chains and exile for their faith. The fund amounted 

^ It appeared in 1872. 

2 The offer of the Spanish crown to a HohenzoUern had been made a pretext by 
the French for the rupture with Germany. 


to ;^8i33, but already the cost of printing the Scriptures in 
Spain exceeded ;;^i4,ooo. 

On the 2nd February — a snowy day — the second son of 
Victor Emmanuel entered Madrid as King of Spain. Marshal 
Prim had been assassinated six days before, and in the church 
of Atocha, hung with the banners of Spanish victories, 
Amadeo looked for the first and last time on the face of the 
man who had given him the crown, and who, had he lived, 
might have baffled the factions, intrigues, and studied insults 
which made it an intolerable burden. Two years later the 
King abdicated his humiliating and untenable position ; a 
Republic was proclaimed, and once more Spain was plunged 
into the horrors of civil war. 

That brief reign, however, was a time of prosperous 
activity. The colporteurs, knapsack on back or trudging with 
mule-cart or pack-horse, were abroad in thirty-two of the 
forty-seven provinces. Through a concession of the Minister 
of Justice, several of them were provided with licences, which 
insured them against many hardships and hindrances by 
declaring the legality of their calling. The widespread 
demand for the Word of God raised the circulation to a point 
only twice exceeded in any later period. The issues from 
the central depot numbered 173,800 copies, and of these 
124,000 were distributed by the colporteurs of the agency, 
while some 38,000 were supplied to the Scottish Bible Society, 
which had its own men at work in the districts it had marked 
out for itself. Even during the next two years of strife and 
political disorder — although the depots at Seville and Valencia 
were closed because the results did not justify the expense, 
and colportage had to be abandoned in six or eight of the 
northern provinces overrun by the Carlist troops, and else- 
where the work was interrupted by armed bands and despotic 
officials — the progress made was scarcely less remarkable. 

On the 29th December 1874 the Republic fell before "the 
great shout " of the armies which proclaimed Alfonso King 


of Spain. A fortnight later the youthful monarch entered 
Madrid with "the good wishes of all Europe" and the 
blessing of the Pope. He had declared himself a Liberal, 
and one of the first acts of his Ministry was a distinct pledge 
that religious liberty should be maintained. But all the 
forces of reaction were sweeping the country back to the 
dark days of Papal supremacy. The purpose of the Govern- 
ment was shown in the closing of Protestant places of worship 
— opened again under the pressure of foreign protests ; in 
the suppression of the evangelical journals — sanctioned again 
only under humiliating restrictions ; in the practical repeal 
of civil marriage, with shameful retrospective disabilities and 
crying injustice to men who had renounced the authority of 
Rome. In the provinces the colporteurs were taunted by 
the priests with the cry that their time was short, and that 
' ' the besom of the new regime would soon sweep them and 
their books out of the land." 

The Protestant Churches stood firmly by their principles. 
In Madrid conferences on points of doctrine, Bible classes, 
mothers' meetings, and other forms of evangelical activity 
were gradually developed, and the schools, with about 2000 
scholars, were sufficiently disquieting to compel the priests 
to start Sunday schools and night schools in self-defence. 
In Seville there were 800 children under missionary instruc- 
tion ; in Valladolid between 100 and 140. Even the small 
congregations remained undaunted, and in one instance at 
least vindicated their claim to baptism for their children and 
Christian burial for their dead according to the rules of their 
own creed. 

The new constitution came into force in July 1876, but 
the intolerance of Rome soon found the means of restricting 
and harassing the religious liberty which it conceded. The 
nth Article declared Roman Catholicism the religion of the 
State, and while it provided that "no persons should be 
molested for their religious opinions or in the exercise of 


their respective forms of worship," forbade any " ceremonies 
or manifestations in public" other than those of the State 
Church. Human ingenuity could not have devised a phrase 
more applicable to every contingency. In Madrid the 
Governor issued a notice for the removal of all signs and 
advertisements relative to worship, schools, sale of religious 
books. They were "public manifestations." Under cover 
of night the inscription on the large signs of the depot — 
"Deposito General de la Sagrada Escritura" — was blacked 
out with the civic paint-brush, and an order was sent that 
the books should be withdrawn from the windows. It was 
so far obeyed that the open pages, which for years many a 
passer-by had stopped to read, were closed, and the titles 
were turned from the street. When he heard of the incident, 
the Prime Minister, Canovas del Castillo, expressed regret 
that such stringent measures had been taken, and encouraged 
the re-opening of the books ; but in the circulars sent to its 
agents in the capitals of Europe the Government assumed full 
responsibility and justified the interpretation of the article. 
High legal opinion was consulted, but one of the jurists 
who drafted the clause declared that it meant whatever the 
Government of the day decided that it should mean. A 
fierce onslaught on the Protestant movement which appeared 
over the signature of Canovas in the Madrid Gazette placed 
the intentions of the Ministry beyond doubt ; and a few days 
later a royal order confirmed the action of the Sub-Governor 
of Minorca, who had interrupted the service in the Wesleyan 
chapel at Mahon and fined two school-mistresses for walking 
with their pupils in the streets and allowing them to sing 
in school. The hint was not thrown away. A colporteur 
in Cadiz was accused by three priests with the "public 
manifestation " of selling in the market-place, though in that 
strongly anti-clerical city the charge was dismissed ; and 
within a fortnight an alcaldi in the province of Badajoz put 
forth an edict bluntly prohibiting the sale of the Bible. 


Thenceforth the operation of the clause was left to the 
caprice of every local magistrate. In some districts tacit 
permission was granted, and the colporteurs were practically 
free. In others a man arriving in a town in the morning 
might be challenged by a priest and carried off to the alcalde : 
a licence was valueless against a judge's definition of a 
"public manifestation": he might be confined, possibly 
without food, all day till nightfall, and only then released 
on condition he left the place, while his stock would be taken 
away for transmission to the Governor. In such circum- 
stances it was strange that the work was not completely 
paralysed ; but day after day the Bibleman pursued his 
calling with amazing faith and patience. Accompany him 
in fancy for a moment ! Now he is in Catalonia or Biscay 
— in the country lately harried by the Pretender, or he 
follows the captured Carlists to their place of banishment 
in Africa ; now he is among the mountains and pine-woods 
of Oviedo, and sees the friars piling faggots for an auto-da-fe 
of Gospels and Testaments (even the Madrid papers, telling 
the story of these books wrung from the people, ask when 
such scandals shall cease) ; now he is plundered by gipsies, 
lashed to a tree, and left to his fate ; now one of his 
colleagues dies, cared for by a single faithful friend. 
Nobody will help to bury a Protestant; at last some very 
poor neighbours are persuaded ; the corpse is borne through 
a jeering rabble to the cemetery ; the sexton insists that 
the whole twenty-four hours' interval from death must be 
completed ; night falls ; the friend is left alone in sorrow 
beside the coffin; one in the morning strikes before the 
poor Bibleman is laid in his grave.^ 

' " Protestant funerals are legalised," wrote Mr Reeves Palmer a few years later, 
' ' and furnish almost the only occasion upon which anything of a public manifestation of 
our religion is possible. Even this is more than the Jesuits can bear. The funeral 
procession is often obstructed, insulted, or stoned. When a child has been baptized 
in the Romish Church prior to its parents becoming Protestants, and is interred in the 
Protestant cemetery, every effort is used to procure the exhumation of the body for 
re-interment in the Romish csmttsry."— Report, 1884, p. 79. 



The same spirit of confidence, the same activity, prevailed 
in all departments of the agency. Fresh editions flowed 
from the press — another Family and Pulpit Bible with 
references, the Psalms in large type, 120,000 more Gospels. 
Under the supervision of Mrs Corfield, the first Spanish 
Biblewoman had begun to visit the poorest of the poor in 
Madrid. The Reports were sprinkled with many unfamiliar 
names — names of towns and villages where new ground had 
been broken ; names of additional friends and promoters of 
the cause — among them the Rev. W. Gulick of the American 
Foreign Missions Board, and the eloquent Don Cypriano 
Tornos, sometime a preacher of the Chapel Royal and a 
member of the brotherhood of the Escuelas Pias. A prayer- 
union, which included one hundred and fifty Spaniards in 
different parts of the country, combined in one common 
appeal to the Holy Spirit all who were labouring for the 
regeneration of Spain. 

In the midst of these trials of faith the circulation of the 
agency fell to its lowest figures. Twenty-four colporteurs 
were employed, but their sales had declined from nearly 66,000 
copies in 1871 to 20,800 in 1879-80, and the depot issues for 
the year came to no more than 38,800. Yet even 38,000 
copies was no insignificant circulation in Catholic Spain. 

After six years of repressive rule Canovas resigned in 
February 1881, and a Liberal Ministry took office under 
Sagasta. The obnoxious nth Article remained unchanged, 
but it was made clear that the law was to be read in its widest 
sense, "thereby rendering homage to the inviolable rights 
of the human conscience." In the Madrid district the 
alcaldes, some twenty in number, were superseded by men 
of broader views, and though similar changes were carried 
out more slowly in the other provinces, the effect of the 
new policy was soon observed in the freer movements of 
the colporteurs. It was not yet possible to reblazon the 
blank sign of the depot, but in a little while the open pages 


were turned daily in the windows. Bishops still fulminated 
against the Society ; mras incited to outrage, magistrates 
abused their powers, but there were signs of a stirring of 
men's minds which, if they would accept the written Word 
for their guidance, were of good omen for Spain. The 
Ministry was reconstructed in response to the popular aspira- 
tion for liberty, and in his last report of the agency Mr 
Corfield dwelt hopefully on the freedom of discussion granted 
in the clubs and on the platform, and the strenuous move- 
ment in favour of civil marriage preceding the ecclesiastical 
ceremony as a means of checking the influence of the clergy 
over family life. As in other Roman Catholic countries, a 
sinister transition was taking place from superstition to 
materialism and infidelity, but since the revolution of 1868 
Spain had made an astonishing advance in political and 
religious development, and the Word of God had been 
scattered so widely over the land that it seemed to him it 
would never again be uprooted. 

Mr Corfield retired in broken health in 1883, and passed 
to his reward in 1885 — another of the courageous and great- 
hearted agents whose service had extended over a quarter 
of a century. He was succeeded by the Rev. E. Reeves 
Palmer, M.A. ; and in the latter part of the year Mr Charles 
Finch, assistant foreign secretary, visited Madrid, Barcelona, 
Seville, and other important centres ; met most of the 
colporteurs — "earnest workers, willing to endure much for 
the Gospel's sake," who were greatly gladdened to hear of 
the interest taken in their welfare by the friends at home ; 
and finished his tour at Gibraltar. The earliest grant to 
the garrison on the Rock was voted in 1807 ; a correspond- 
ing committee was formed in 182 1 ; since then, with many 
changes, lapses, revivals, the Auxiliary had done invaluable 
service. On 3rd December 1883 was held the first public 
Bible meeting ever known in Gibraltar.^ 

1 During the thirty years 21,453 copies of Scripture in various languages (;^l49o) 
were despatched to Gibraltar from the Bible House ; and pf 180 was voted in aid 
of colportage. 


As the period closed, the prospects of the Society were 
once more overshadowed. On the i8th January 1884 Canovas 
del Castillo returned again to power. 

It may now be noted that the direct expenditure on Spain 
during the thirty years amounted to ;^7 1,690, and the 
receipts to ;^ 17,638, or 24*6 per cent, of the outlay. From 
its foundation in 1868, the Madrid agency issued 983,062 
Bibles, Testaments, and Portions in Spanish.^ 

In 1874 Portugal felt the vibrations of the civil strife in 
Spain. Among the ignorant masses of the population there 
was a wild idea abroad that Carlist victories would bring 
about the restoration of the Papal power, that Dom Miguel ^ 
would ascend the throne of Portugal, the Church would 
regain its former splendour, and the old days of visions, 
miracles, and pilgrimages would return. Carried away by 
these extravagant hopes, the priests broke out into acts of 
open violence, seized the books of the colporteurs, dragged 
the unoffending men before the justices, and frequently drove 
them out of town and village to the peril of their lives. 
Scant redress could be obtained even through the British 
Embassy, for the chief sufferers were not British subjects, and 
a curious theory seemed to be held of the rights of British 
property when it took the form of Bibles and Testaments. 

The excitement gradually subsided, and in the lull of 
clerical aggression the real disposition of the people in 
many parts was evident enough. In Lisbon there were 
several congregations of Bible-reading Romanists — men who 
would not admit that they were Protestants, but who, in 

1 During the fourteen years, 1870-84, covered by regular statistics, 829,000 copies 
were circulated in the country, and of these about 250,000 were supplied to the 
Scottish Bible Society. The extent to which the Scriptures were distributed in Spain 
prior to the revolution of 1868 cannot be ascertained. Between 1854 and 1868, how- 
ever, the Society printed 454,292 copies in Spanish. From 1868 to 1884 it produced 
369,552 copies, apart from the large editions printed in Madrid. During the thirty 
years, therefore, its total output was 1,806,906 copies. Add to this the number printed 
in the first half century — 273,606, and we find that in 1884 the Spanish Scriptures 
provided by the Society from the beginning reached an aggregate of 2,080,512 copies. 

^ Son of the usurper of 1828, who issued at this juncture a quasi-manifesto 
pledging himself to the restoration of ecclesiastical discipline and the temporal power. 


their weariness of Jesuit intrigues and Infallibilist claims, 
gathered on Sundays and week-days to seek for a purer 
faith in God's own Word. In the press the journalist 
denounced "the profligacy of the Great Apostasy " ; pictured 
the prosperity and power of the nations which exalted the 
Bible, while Spain and Portugal lagged far behind in the 
march of civilisation; and pointed the bitter moral, "The 
difference is not in the Book — that is the same in every land 
— but in the retention or renunciation of Romish priest- 
craft." On the stage the dramatist " enscened " the home life 
ruined by the confessor — ties severed, affections estranged, 
the father dying of a broken heart, the patrimony of the 
children bequeathed for Masses and scooped into the coffers 
of the Church. Press, stage, and Bible Society were branded 
by the Patriarch of Lisbon as a confederacy, subsidised with 
Protestant gold, for the corruption of the people and the 
overthrow of religion. 

The possibility of combining Portugal and Spain in a 
single agency had been considered by the Committee, but 
the time did not yet seem opportune, and in November 
1876 the Rev. Robert Stewart relieved Mr Tugman and the 
corresponding committee of their charge. As minister of 
the Presbyterian church in Lisbon he knew the needs and 
character of the people, and had watched the progress of 
the work since 1866. His first report was a cheering 

" Ten years since (he wrote) I found your Society just striking root in 
the land, and scarcely any evidence of fruit from its labours. In Lisbon 
there existed one little company of professing Christians, who met for 
worship in the house of Mrs Roughton ; in Oporto, by the Christian efforts 
of Mr James Cassels, a few had been brought to prize the Word of Truth. 
Go now where you will, in cities or villages, evidences are given by some 
that the Word of God has reached them. . . . Little or nothing is done 
outside of cities to educate the mass of the people, but when the Bible 
gets into the hands of one reader, many come to hear " — 

and the hearers soon became readers, And besides the 


quiet teaching in the schools and the secret changes in the 
districts traversed by the colporteurs, there were the broad 
results — 

" Lisbon, with four places of worship where many worshipped at the 
feet of Christ ; Oporto, with three places in or near the city ; Portalegre, 
Ilhao, Figueira, Rio de Morno near Cintra, Marinha, Coimbra, regularly 
visited for ministration and meeting. . . . Put what credit you choose on 
the preachers of the Word and organisers of congregations, the primary 
influence is the scattering of the Word itself." 

Of these matters historians take little account, but at the 
time, as we have seen, the great ecclesiastics were wrathfully 
aware of the impulse they gave to the reform of abuses and 
the enlargement of the national life. 

In 1879 the sway of the Church was checked by two 
important measures. Civil registration superseded the 
certificate of the priest for baptisms, marriages, and funerals. 
Up to that date the law of Portugal ignored the status, even 
the existence, of Acatholicos (non-Catholics), and a convert's 
profession of Protestantism entailed the loss of civil rights. 
Education, too, was made compulsory, but parents were 
accorded the right to withdraw their children from religious 
instruction, which was, of course, Roman Catholic. In their 
bitter resentment the clergy attempted reprisals. One of 
the colporteurs was tried and sentenced to twelve m'onths' 
imprisonment for having spoken against the State religion 
sixteen years before ; another narrowly escaped by pointing 
out passages in the Bible and asking his accusers to read 
them in answer to the questions meant to entrap him. Such 
incidents, however, excited the interest of the people, and 
did the cause more good than harm. The Men of the 
Book went bravely about their daily work, travelling in all 
directions and meeting amid their hardships with many a 
cheering incident. The priest with the spear — a formidable 
old enemy — now came to ask for the Word of Life : " I am 
quite changed in my ideas now." "I will swear on the 

1884] "A WORK OF THE DEVIL" 183 

Bible," said the blacksmith, who refused to take oath on 
the Missal, which was not prescribed by the civil code. 
"This is the man I was near sending to prison," said the 
administrador, as he purchased a copy. Was the colporteur 
refused a lodging at his accustomed inn because the priest 
threatened excommunication? Here were food and rest at 
a country house which he had been used to hasten past in 
fear. Did the curas gather his books and burn them ? Here 
were two padres who had been brought to a better mind by 
reading Gospels which had escaped the fire. And from 
towns where the Gospel had been read but never yet 
preached requests for pastors bore witness to the efficacy 
of distribution. 

In Lisbon a Biblewoman was visiting the hospitals and 
the poor. The depot had been removed to a more advan- 
tageous position ; and in 1881 a sub-depot was opened in 
Oporto in co-operation with the Religious Tract Society. 
And yet another pioneer had penetrated distant valleys 
and wooded defiles where till lately had been heard only 
mule-bells or the shrieking wheels of the huge-horned 
bullock-team. "The priests fear the power of steam," 
wrote Mr Stewart, "as much as they do that of the 
Scriptures." It brought new notions, new manners, broke 
the bondage of the people, revolutionised their parishes. 
"Fuge, homens, fuge ! " ["Flee, men, flee!"], cried one of 
them to the villagers laying the line — " esta obra e do diabo " 
["This work is of the devil"]. When in a little while the 
people who heard him curse the railway saw him travel- 
ling on it, they applied the lesson to the colporteur. For 
all the cura's maledictions the books might be as good as 
the train. 

The period was not allowed to close without another 
outburst of hostility. The return of the Society of Jesus 
under sanction of the Government led in 1882 to a retrograde 
enactment, that all who had been baptized in the Roman 


Catholic Church should be buried according to its rites. 
A brutal and cowardly device, which enabled the priest to 
snatch the little dead child from the sorrowing father and 
mother who had abandoned the creed of Rome. Later, the 
Papal party displayed their power in the Cortes. A bill 
granting toleration and protection to all religious denomina- 
tions found no more than twelve supporters, and the measure 
was thrown out — to the jubilation of Leo XIIL, who sent 
his apostolic benediction. In other respects the activity of 
the clergy was more helpful than hurtful. They started 
opposition schools, which prepared the young to read — 
Bibles, perhaps, some day. They put into circulation the 
Bishop of Coimbra's translation of the New Testament, 
which, if it attacked the heresies of Protestants, at least 
proved the genuineness of their Scriptures. 

The work of the agency during these years was not 
confined to the Continent. It was in 1846 that Dr Kalley's 
persecuted flock in Madeira loosed sail in quest of a free 
country. In 1859 a correspondent was once more dis- 
tributing the Society's grants among the shipping in 
Funchal Bay. Seven years later an attempt to open a 
Bible store was prevented by the ferocity of the mob and 
the intolerance of the bishop and the civil authorities. In 
1874, 208 copies were circulated ; an experienced colporteur, 
Martinho Vieira, arrived in 1876, and in the next year Mr 
Stewart visited the island, which had then a thousand 
priests in a population of 150,000. Few books were sold, 
but Vieira did much for the little body of believers 
in Madeira — led them in worship, counselled them in 
difficulties, comforted them in sorrow, visited them in 
sickness. On his death in 1879 Mr G. W. Smart, who 
had long helped among the sea-faring men, was put in 
charge, and the distribution exceeded iioo copies. A 
joint depot for the Society and the Religious Tract Society 
was inaugurated by Earl Fortescue in January 1882, and 


later in the year, Manoel Melin, one of the exiles of Dr 
Kalley's old church, returned from Illinois to labour as a 
colporteur-evangelist amid the scenes of his youth. 

Supplies were conveyed to the Cape Verd and the 
Canary Islands in 1876. Nine years before that date, in 
1867, two colporteurs landed in the Azores, but were 
obliged to withdraw after the distribution of some 200 
Bibles and Testaments. In the spring of 1876 the veteran, 
Patrocinio Diaz, reached San Miguel, and remained till 
December in the following year, travelling among the 
people and passing in open boats to the smaller islands. 
Another colporteur relieved him in 1878, but he returned 
in 1880. When his health failed three years later it was 
only "by great pressure and amid many tears" that he 
was persuaded to leave the islands even for a time. 
Clerical hatred was as implacable as ever, but it was now 
possible to sell the Scriptures openly, and on Christmas 
Day 1883 a joint depot was opened in San Miguel. 

It remains to mention the progress made in regard to 
versions. A revised and modernised edition of Almeida, 
with alternative readings and the most important references, 
appeared in 1875 and was reissued in 1877. Attention was 
directed again to Figueiredo's, which, though based on the 
Vulgate, was little loved by the clergy. It was the version 
preferred in all the Protestant churches in Portugal, and 
had been the chief instrument in awakening the people to 
a religious life in Brazil. No definite steps, however, were 
taken until Mr Finch's visit in 1883, when the aid of several 
Portuguese scholars was obtained for the revision of the 
Gospel of St Luke. 

The expenditure on Portugal from the founding of the 
agency in 1864 amounted to ;^3 1,646. The receipts did 
not exceed ;^4000, or 12 per cent, of the outlay. There 
were issued from the central depot 136,463 copies of 
Scripture, of which little less than 80,000 was distributed 


by colportage. Outside these figures several thousands of 
copies were sent out to other agencies, chiefly to South 

Spain and Portugal ! The conditions in which the work 
of the Society was done, the effects which it produced, are 
reflected as in a mirror in the following story of a colporteur's 
grave. In January 1883 died Manoel Vieira de Souza, who 
had served since the formation of the agency. He passed 
away suddenly at Barcellos in the north-west province. The 
priests and the authorities arranged that the body should 
be buried in the darkness of the night, without service or 
ceremony. News of the death, however, had reached Mr 
Stewart; an evangelical minister arrived at Barcellos the 
next morning, and the scheme of the priests was thwarted. 
Surrounded by a multitude of sympathisers, the coffin was 
borne to the cemetery ; and at the grave side the Word of 
God was read and prayer offered that God might bless the 
work of him who now rested from his labours. The news- 
papers described the funeral and testified to Manoel's worth : 
" It will be difficult for the Bible Society to find such another 
man to fill the place of Vieira — so quiet, humble, patient a 
spirit that we all might covet the same for ourselves." But 
the grave had scarcely closed before the priests cast about 
to rouse the superstitious terrors of the people so that they 
might have the body exhumed. They spread a rumour that 
the spirit of the heretic haunted the cemetery — that the very 
earth was casting out the body of the Bible-vendor. A 
"week of prayer" was held to obtain the removal of "this 
great scandal to their religion, this pollution of the burying- 
place of Catholics." Within a fortnight of Manoel's death 
the church bells were tolling for a shameless desecration. 
Ventura the guitar-maker heard them in his shop, wondering 
who had died. He had known Manoel ; had repulsed him 

' In all, 439,190 Bibles, Testaments, and Portions in Portuguese were printed 
for the Society between 1854 and 1884, and the aggregate from the beginning now 
reached 517,272 volumes, 


again and again with the words, " I want none of your false 
books" ; had nodded grimly on being informed of his death 
— "A very good thing! an end to his selling false books; 
they might throw him into the river." As the bells tolled 
a neighbour came up gleefully to say that the priests were 
going to dig up the body and drop it into a pit in un- 
consecrated ground. Then the horror of that vindictive 
insult to the dead fell on the guitar-maker. "No," he said, 
"that shall not be. They have to do with me now. Not 
a clod shall be moved. I will go to the cemetery, and others 
with me. The first priest who dares touch the grave shall 
be thrown down." The padres were warned ; they knew the 
character of the man ; the project was abandoned, and the 
excitement died down. Ventura, who as a shepherd lad had 
had little teaching, went to a night school, bought a Bible, 
and became an ardent student. Day by day he perceived his 
trade slipping from him in fanatical Barcellos, and another 
colporteur helped him to remove to Oporto, where he was 
granted some share in evangelistic work. The months went 
by; 2nd November came round — "All Souls' Day" — when 
wreaths and tokens of remembrance are laid on the dead. 
Manoel's grave was found to have been most beautifully 
decorated. Four men, it appeared, had got leave from the 
proper authority, and one of the four had many months 
before bought a Testament from Manoel — and torn it to 
shreds. He, too, became " a staunch defender of the Truth." 



We return to the Austrian Agency in 1867. 

Liberalism was in the ascendant. The autonomy of 
Hungary was reinstated. Religious equality and the re- 
pression of ecclesiastical arrogance had become burning 
questions. New laws regarding civil marriage, education, 
and the registration of baptisms broke the tyranny of Rome 
in the most vital matters of personal liberty. To use the 
words of the Civilth Catiolica, the Concordat, formally abolished 
a few years later, was already "torn up in the Reichsrath." 

But while in the kingdom of St Stephen the restoration 
of self-government gave a wider range and a promise of 
security to Bible-work, the movement towards intellectual 
and spiritual freedom in Austria released an unprepared 
people from the only moral restraint they had learned to obey. 
The rebound from such slavery was appalling. Thousands 
plunged into licentiousness, thousands into open infidelity. ^ 
The pomp and pageantry of a sensuous worship remained, 
but the vaunted piety of Austria showed itself a hollow 
semblance of faith and principle. Such utter disregard of 
public and private morality, such coarseness and blasphemous 
profanity in the press, such open and daring profligacy had 
rarely been known in any country calling itself Christian. 
The Roman hierarchy were furious at their loss of power, 
and came as near revolt as they dared. Dismayed, too, by 
the social upheaval, and anxious to dissociate themselves 
from the consequences of their fatal supremacy, they blamed, 

' In Bohemia there were four instances in which Christians embraced Judaism, 



as the primary cause of the disorders they could not check, 
"the Reformation, which had taught people to read the 
Scriptures and explain them according to the dictates of 

At such a juncture the Word of God, given free course, 
might have been of incalculable blessing to Austria ; but 
the position of the Society was scarcely affected by the 
changes which had taken place. Every attempt to loosen 
the conditions which obstructed the activity of the agency 
met with delays and disappointments traceable to a subtle 
and far-reaching influence.^ Licences in Austria did not 
enable the colporteur, like his colleague in France and 
Germany, to open his wallet and sell to any number of 
purchasers on the spot ; he was allowed merely to show his 
books and take orders for them. Nor did these permits 
which legalised his calling secure him the protection of 
the law. The men were roughly handled, fined, bound in 
chains, thrust into loathsome prisons ; but the intervention 
of the Minister for War in one flagrant case of arrest and 
confiscation on the Military Frontier, warned high officials 
of the risk of exceeding their commission. 

As the time passed, the authorities were convinced that 
the objects of the Society were neither political nor con- 
troversial. A good effect was apparently produced by a 
petition from the Synod of the Lutheran Church in Bohemia 
on behalf of Bible circulation. A more friendly spirit pre- 
vailed among those in power, and as far as possible the 
way was cleared of all legal obstacles. In 1869 sanction 
was obtained for access to Protestant prisoners, and the 
Oberkirchenrath (the Royal Board of Protestant Worship) 
gratefully undertook the distribution of the Scriptures in 
a large number of State prisons and country jails. The 

' The original law affecting colportage extended to all printed matter. From the 
first facilities were given for the sale of Roman Catholic prayer-books, catechisms, etc., 
and the Society sought for the impartial extension of the same privileges to Bible 


submission of multitudes of devout Romanists was severely 
strained in 1870 by the amazing dogma of Papal Infallibility, 
and in that of all years the inscription " Depot of the British 
and Foreign Bible Society" appeared for the first time over 
the premises of the agency. It was in itself a trifling detail, 
but it connoted the mighty changes which had given the 
Society a legitimate and open position in the capital of the 

In 1871 a Bill to legalise colportage in the widest sense 
of the word was introduced in the Austrian Parliament 
with the co-operation of several members. The House dis- 
solved before the subject was reached, but happily at that 
moment the moderation of the authorities left little to be 
desired. Another appeal for permission was presented to 
the Reichsrath in 1874. It was accepted by the Committee 
on the Press Laws, and a Bill authorising Bible distribution 
was promised ; later, indeed, full licences, revocable at will, 
were issued for several small districts in Austria proper ; 
but time passed, and after numberless petitions and remon- 
strances addressed to the Government, the measure, which 
would have put the work of the agency on the same footing 
as in Hungary, and which had received the assent of the 
Lower House, was lost in the Upper House in 1877. Thence- 
forth nothing remained but to accept the conditions imposed, 
and leave the result in the hands of God. 

Meanwhile advantage had been taken of every opening. 
In Vienna itself, where large numbers gathered before the 
depot windows, and more than one person stood uncovered 
as he earnestly read the open page of the Bible, the priest- 
hood, who made no attempt to check the sale of pernicious 
literature, were unmeasured in their denunciations against 
the distribution of the Scriptures, and the press re-echoed 
their unscrupulous charges and menaces. The privilege of 
sale was refused to all denominations alike at the great 
International Exhibition of 1873, and gratis distribution in 


the public thoroughfares was forbidden by the police 
regulations ; but the Society was allowed to display its 
splendid library of versions, and many thousands of its 
catalogues, " Brief Views," and " Specimens of Languages " 
were circulated among the vast concourse of people, speak- 
ing a variety of tongues and wearing the costumes of many 
nations. Among the visitors to the Bible stand were a 
gentleman and young lady who asked many questions, 
listened attentively to the story of the Society's world-wide 
enterprise, and marked several copies to be sent to them. 
It was the father of the Emperor of Austria and his grand- 
daughter Gisela. 

One of the many strangers from the Far East was a 
commissioner for Japan to the Exhibition. Seven years 
earlier his daughter, who had been sent to America for her 
education, had urged him in a letter to obtain a Bible and 
to read it. Now as he stood before the array of the Society's 
translations, he was struck with wonder that so much had 
been made of a single book. He bought a copy in Chinese ; 
in his journey through Europe he compared the three 
prevailing forms of Christianity with the Scriptures ; and on 
his return to Yeddo he received baptism from the American 
missionaries. The next suggestion of his daughter was more 
readily adopted : he bought one of the temples of his old 
heathen gods, and turned it into a place of Christian worship. 
An attempt to establish Sunday schools in the capital 
was frustrated by the devices of the clergy, but in 1874 
meetings for Bible-reading were readily sanctioned by the 
authorities : "for so good a purpose we would gladly see 
fifty rooms opened in the city." This, however, was one 
of the last concessions yielded in the capital. 

Away in the provinces the colporteurs came now and 
again upon quiet spots where the creed of the Reformation 
still glimmered amid the Papal darkness. Ranch told how 
in Upper Austria he discovered a little company of believers, 


who for years had upheld "the clear testimony of Christ's 
finished work," delivered to them from the days of persecu- 
tion. "A holy shudder seized him" when their sacred 
books, some of them two centuries old, which had been 
handed down from father to son, were placed in his hands. 
The home of another colporteur was in Styria, where it was 
still nothing rare, when old houses were pulled down, to find 
the Bible or some other precious volume concealed in the 
walls. The hiding-place on his grandfather's farm was a 
hollow in one of the heavy logs which supported the long 
stone bench near the entrance ; loose bricks in the house 
wall enabled it to be reached from the inside ; and when 
the inquisitors had ransacked every room they sat down to 
rest on the slab which covered the object of their search. 

Once in a way some simple and kindly priest gave the 
Gospel a Christian welcome : " Bring your gracious burden 
to church on Sunday ; it is the feast of our patron St 
Martin ; many people will be there, and it will do them 
good to be acquainted with the Holy Scriptures." But for 
the most part the priests spared neither time nor money to 
secure the destruction of the books bought. They were 
burnt in the Styrian Alps ; burnt in Carinthia, where, how- 
ever, there were about a score of Protestant congregations, 
and the colporteur was received as a friend under many a 
pastor's roof; exchanged for "miraculous medals" and the 
like, and burnt in Trieste, where the better educated were 
beginning to quote Scripture against the abuses of the 
clergy. As for the common people, illiteracy was almost 
as prevalent as superstition. Testaments slightly soiled by 
the bursting of an oil-cask at sea, they would not touch as 
a gift : ' ' Oil-spots ! Would you bring us within danger of 
Extreme Unction then?" 

From the Trieste depot, opened in 1867 in place of that 
at Ragusa, the agency operated by means of colporteurs 
and correspondents in Dalmatia and Croatia, Istria, and 

^Ae^ lVZ^^^ 'G^AtsMeJ' ^JacAtJ-ffn^ 


Carniola ; and numberless ships from all parts of the 
Mediterranean frequented the busy sea-port. 

In the Dalmatian insurrection of 1869 permission was 
granted, with the thanks of the War Office, for distribution 
of the Scriptures among the sick and wounded lying in 
various hospitals, and in one unsafe district a cavalry escort 
was provided. 

About half the population of the old kingdom of Illyria 
were Slavs; and in 1869-70 the Gospels of Mark and 
Matthew were issued in Sloven, their native dialect.^ The 
Trieste journals were forbidden to advertise the books ; 
several passages were read out with jeers and laughter by 
ribald maskers at the Carnival ; everywhere the priests were 
in active opposition ; but in little over a year 2700 copies 
were sold. The Scriptures in various languages were placed 
in the rooms and cells of the city prison with the approval 
of the Attorney-General, and the Surveyor of Taxes reduced 
the charges on the depot to the lowest scale permitted by 
the law. 

When the Austrian Arctic Expedition sailed in 1872 no 
room could be found for a priest who volunteered, but 
the Word of God was considered indispensable. Copies in 
German, Croat, and Italian were obtained from the Trieste 
depot, and a chapter was read daily during the long sojourn 
in the ice-locked polar seas. 

In the coves and creeks of the Dalmatian coast were 
found a surprising number of Bibles brought from home 
by British ships, but the colporteurs travelled many a day 
without being able to sell a copy in the native tongue. 

In Croatia, illiterate, gaily licentious. Papal in the extreme, 

1 The first Sloven translation of the New Testament, the work of Primus Truber, 
once a Romish priest, afterwards a minister of the Reformed Church, was published 
in 1577. His successor, George Dalmatin, issued the Old Testament with the help 
of Melancthon in 1584. In 1599 only one-fifth of Laibach, the capital of Carniola, 
was Roman Catholic. Twenty-nine years later "all non-Catholic gentlemen and 
farmers, and all nobles, male and female," were ordered to quit the Empire within 
the year, and so the Reformation was trampled out in these parts. 



nearly 6000 copies were circulated in 1870 ; and in the fair 
city of Warasdin what joy there was in meeting evangelical 
Christians brought to the Truth by some earlier distribution 
of the German Scriptures ! Despite priestly vigilance and 
the violence of angry crowds, every village and cluster of 
huts was visited in Carinthia. In the romantic valleys of 
the Tyrol, 

" Where each house, like some missal old and quaint, 
Was blazoned o'er with prophet, seer, and saint," 

the books were cursed in the pulpit and extorted in the 
confessional. A retired officer of the navy, a Roman 
Catholic, who took out a licence for the sale of Vulgate 
versions recognised by Church, was so unnerved by the 
persecution inflicted on his family that his health gave 
way and his depot had to be closed. 

The work in Tyrol was taken up by Karl Ranch in 
1870. Now for a moment we see again the rocks and fir- 
woods, the pastures and snow -peaks of the Zillerthal. 
Thirty years had gone since the Protestant exiles found a 
home in Silesia under the care of the Countess of Reden ; ^ 
but Rauch climbed by paths "steep as a flight of stairs" 
to the high village with its school, inn, and lovely little 
green-spired church, where most of them had lived, and 
conversed with some of their relatives, "none of them 
believers." He pushed on as far south as Trent of the 
famous Council, as far north as the shores of the Lake 
of Constance. The doors of churches and chapels were 
placarded with interdicts, holding up to public scorn the 
State official who had signed the colporteur's permit. The 
licence granted for six months was not renewed until 1872. 
Once more Rauch ranged through the Tyrol to the lonely 
huts in the high snow region, so busy that "we had to 

' The Countess died at Buchwald, 14th May 1854, interested to her very last 
day in her beloved Bible Society. See her charming biography, A Pietist of the 
Napoleonic Wars and After (Murray). 


send him box after box." He set out on his fourth tour 
in the spring of 1874. His weekly returns suddenly ceased 
in October. Some time later his stick and note-book were 
picked up on the banks of a river a few miles above Botzen. 
Three months afterwards his body was discovered, stripped 
and mutilated. Two of his colleagues volunteered for the 
Tyrol. They found no clue to the mystery of his death, 
but then and in later years they heard his name blessed 
in many a village and many a mountain cot by those to 
whom he brought the light of the Gospel. 

The city and duchy of Salzburg, shadowed by memories 
of ruthless persecution, were entered in 187 1. The sale of 
a few hundred copies raised a fierce clamour in the press ; 
the brief licence was not renewed, and when another permit 
was granted five years later, the colporteur was arrested, 
his books were confiscated, and the country was closed 
once more for many a day. 

The Czechs were passionately agitating for self-govern- 
ment, for the coronation of the Emperor at Prague with 
the crown of St Wenceslas as King of Bohemia. Joyful 
commemoration of the quincentenary of the birth of John 
Huss was held in 1869, but what seemed the beginning of 
a strong evangelical revival proved to be little more than 
a blaze of political fervour. It kindled, nevertheless, new 
zeal in some of the Bohemian Churches, though a large 
number of pastors remained strangely indifferent to the 
spread of the Gospel, and in many Protestant homes the 
Bible was unknown or merely regarded as an heirloom 
from old times. On the other hand, while the lives of 
the colporteurs were threatened, and their books cast to 
the flames, a growing eagerness to purchase copies was 
observable among Roman Catholics. For five years — 
1867 - 72 — a depot and colporteur were maintained at 
Carlsbad in the western corner of Bohemia ; and besides 
a considerable sale among the Jews, Russians, and Poles 


who crowded to the springs, such a desire for the Truth 
was stirred among "a goodly number of inquirers" that 
they invited one of the Moravian evangelists to instruct 
them : '• We want spiritual food ; but we have no shepherd, 
and we are compelled to listen to the croaking of some 
ravens, who have no better advice to give us than to settle 
down quietly in Babylon, where he dwells who says of 
himself that he is infallible." 

The German Vulgate version of the New Testament by 
Kistemaker was prescribed by the Imperial School Board 
at Prague, and happily the agency was able to supply it 
in a cheap form to Roman Catholic schools and colleges. 
Here, too, indeed, as in many other fields experience proved 
the spiritual efficacy of the Vulgate and the necessity of 
using versions derived from it. 

The sale of nearly 4000 copies to the military in 1876 
was made a pretext for an attempt to suppress the work 
in Bohemia. The officers had readily granted passes, ex- 
pressed their thankfulness, even taken part in the distribu- 
tion ; but the colporteurs were charged with espionage, 
arrested, deprived of their licences. Some secret influence 
seemed to be putting all the forces of obstruction into 
motion. The men were harassed on every side, prosecuted, 
fined, kept waiting for their papers ; but the letter of the 
law, such as it was, was exacted by the agent's appeals 
to the higher courts and the supreme authorities. Amid 
the trouble and annoyance, his heart was cheered by the 
steady progress of evangelical work, and the manifest deter- 
mination of many people to obtain possession of the Word 
of God. A poor Roman Catholic woman came in to Prague 
from five-and-twenty miles away to find a Bible ; and one 
militant priest who had burnt sixty-seven volumes — "every 
one made on the devil's last" — was powerless to prevent 
his parishioners from buying. So the cause advanced in 
Bohemia and Moravia. 


In 1868 Lemberg, the triple seat of Greek, Roman 
Catholic, and Armenian archbishops, was chosen as a depot- 
centre for the mingled races — Ruthenians, Germans, Poles, 
Jews — in number from 5,000,000 to 6,000,000, spread over 
Silesia, Galicia, and Bukowina. A people poor, ignorant, 
spiritually destitute : a country with few roads, in winter 
almost impassable away from the main routes ; in whose 
smaller towns and villages the stranger would vainly seek 
accommodation for the night. Trade was everywhere in 
the hands of the Jews, and everywhere, though the yoke of 
their rabbis lay heavy upon them, they came for Bibles and 
Old Testament portions, and at times listened attentively 
when told of the Crucified Saviour. In 1876 nearly twice 
as many copies were sold to Jews as to any other nationality. 

Rome was fiercely on the alert, but the colporteur sold at 
the very portals of Lemberg Cathedral, where all the year 
round throve a brisk trade in crucifixes, holy-water shells, 
legends and pictures of saints. Priests took their stand 
near his stall at the giddy fairs, and warned off the curious. 
Hark to the pipes and cymbals in yon far corner of the 
square, where a gaudy booth is hung with flaming pictures 
of the wonders inside ! Hundreds enter ; but notice those 
who come out. They all have books in their hands — little 
books that look very familiar to us. "Are not these our 
New Testaments and our Portions? The priests are off the 
scent, and behold ! whilst they are stirring up police and 
magistrates and lawyers and the rulers of the land against 
our colporteurs, others unknown to us and unbidden by 
us are doing work for us." These showmen with their 
panoramic views travel up and down the country. Times 
go hard, business is slack. To draw good houses the 
owners promise every visitor a prize, and they have hit on 
the idea of using Scripture Portions. In all probability they 
can find nothing cheaper than these books ; yet who knows 
what divine blessings may have gone forth with the hundreds 


of copies scattered far and wide by these spangled and gaily- 
coloured auxiliaries? 

The Gospel of St Luke in Ruthen was published in Latin 
and in Cyrillic characters in 1874. It was the first page 
of God's Word that had appeared in the language ; it was 
the beginning, too, of a Ruthenian literature, which was 
enriched nine years later by the translation of Shakespeare. 
The Greek Church had encouraged the purchase of the Old 
Sclavonic version, but most of the higher clergy were un- 
favourable to a text in the common tongue. Thanks, how- 
ever, to the zeal of a Bible - loving priest, a movement 
sprang up among the people ; copies sold rapidly ; and the 
Gospel of St John was issued in the more popular Cyrillian. 
In 1878 the yearly circulation in these provinces exceeded 
7000 copies. Little Bible meetings were held, here and there 
a Sunday school was started ; and in one rude spot where 
there was neither pastor nor church, numbers gathered at 
nightfall in the colporteur's room all through the hard 
winter. "We used to call ourselves Christian," it was said 
in a town some distance from Lemberg ; "now we have 
learned how great was our former darkness." 

Beyond the Austrian frontier the agency had charge of 
Russian Poland. Difficulties arose occasionally at a distance 
from the capital, but after close observation the authorities at 
Warsaw had satisfied themselves as to the unquestionable 
character of the Society's work. On the invitation of the 
military chiefs Pastor Losewitz of Riga visited the Lettish 
soldiers in Poland in 1868. Supplied with the Lettish 
Testament and Psalms, of which the Committee had printed 
a large edition at his urgent request, he was received with 
the liveliest joy, and 880 copies were distributed gratis at the 
expense of the State. Specially bound volumes were pre- 
sented to the Governor of Warsaw, and through him to the 
Grand Duke and the Czar. The use of Russian became 
more general among the people. Large orders were received 


from the Russian colleges into which the ancient Sclavonic 
had been introduced. Among Polish Protestants the 
Dantzic version had long been current ; an edition of 
Wuyk's New Testament, with marginal readings against a 
few passages, was circulated among the Roman Catholic 
population. While, unhappily, too many Protestant pastors 
held aloof, the Church of Rome steadily opposed the work. 
Still there were many bright scenes in districts where 
the Reformed faith prevailed ; and even where Roman 
Catholicism took its most fervid forms — in the crowded 
pilgrimages to "the black Mother of God" at Czenstochau, 
in which thousands uncovered long before they reached 
the town, dragged themselves forward on their knees, 
taught their little children to lie prostrate on their faces for 
hours — many a Testament was carried home into remote 
parts of Poland. 

Most remarkable was the attitude of the Jews. The 
complete Bible was admitted into their schools. Jewish 
women, who would once have thought it sinful to look at 
a strange book, gathered round the depot windows. Once 
at the great fast of Yom Kippur a number of Jews entered 
the depot. For years they had observed the Day of 
Atonement in their synagogue, but had been brought no 
nearer to God ; now they wanted to study His own book 
that they might learn how they should find a true reconcilia- 
tion. In 1872 the Gospel of St Matthew, recast by the 
Talmudic scholar, Mr P. I. Hershon, from the New Testa- 
ment translated for the London Jews Society, was published 
in Judffio-Polish, the only dialect in which it could be read 
by the mass of illiterate Jewish men and women in Central 
and Eastern Europe. St Luke and other Portions quickly 
followed, and the New Testament was completed in 1878. 

For some months in 1868-69 it seemed doubtful whether 
Hungarian Independence was to mean anything more than 
a new name for an old regime. Mr Millard's memorial tq 


the Government for greater liberty of action was refused, 
and such rigorous conditions were at once imposed as 
almost to preclude colportage altogether. But the issues 
were too grave to be surrendered without a struggle. A 
second appeal, powerfully supported by the Protestant 
Hungarian Bishops of Pesth, Presburg, and Klausenburg, 
was presented, and after a period of disquieting silence was 
favourably answered on nearly every point. Free licences 
were granted for the whole kingdom and the annexed 
provinces of Transylvania, Croatia, and Slavonia.^ The 
local authorities were entitled to inspect the licences, but 
they had no power to interfere so long as the work was 
confined to Bible circulation. From that time onward the 
mere name of the Society insured a kind and courteous 
attention from the highest officials. 

The opposition of the Romish clergy was strong and 
outspoken, but where the Scriptures produced a religious 
revolution and the resolute Bible-readers defied commina- 
tions and magisterial decisions, the priests found that they 
could no longer enforce dogma and discipline at the point 
of the bayonet. A considerable section of the Reformed 
Churches held steadfastly to the truth of the Word, but 
the general condition of Protestants was deplorable. Scepti- 
cism and Science were hailed as the pilot-stars of humanity 
at the meeting of the Hungarian Protestant Association in 
1872 ; the contents of the Bible were described as worthless 
myths ; and one speaker declared, amid unchecked applause, 
that the time had come to discard the Apostles' Creed as 
a ridiculous anachronism. 

Midway through the seventies cholera, which carried 
off its tens of thousands, financial disasters, ruined harvests, 
widespread suffering, added to the bewildering conditions 
of the work. The world seemed topsy-turvy. One read 

' In Slavonia, and especially in Croatia, however, difficulties were caused by 
certain Austrian regulations which survived the annexation to Hungary. 


on the same page of the immense despair which sought 
refuge in suicide, and of Protestant pastors stamping out 
revival movements due to Bible-reading ; of the distribution 
of the Word of God in prisons, and of an agitation to banish 
it from the schools ; of Protestants offering their books for 
sale to the colporteurs, and of an increasing demand for 
the Scriptures among Roman Catholics, who were sending 
their children to the Sunday schools ; of one-third of the 
country under martial law on account of burglaries and 
highway robberies, and of troops of children gathering about 
the colporteur in the evenings that they might learn his 
hymns, and bringing their parents to hear the singing. 
Was it strange that the work among the Jews fell far short 
of the success in Poland? "We have no objection to 
Christianity in principle," said a Rabbi; "but now, show 
us your Christians ! " 

In the picturesque regions of Transylvania the resources 
of the colporteurs were taxed by the multiplicity of tongues. 
The same legal freedom of action, and the same clerical 
hostility prevailed. When the revised Rouman Testament 
appeared in 1868 the work of the Society was denounced 
by the Bishop of the United Greek Church (in union with 
Rome), and eloquently commended to a great concourse 
of pastors and schoolmasters by the Hungarian Bishop 
of the Protestant Church of Transylvania. The Apocrypha 
controversy was revived in 1875 both by the priests and 
the Ruthenian pastors, who condemned the Society's Bibles 
as incomplete. The Roumanians, however, gladly accepted 
the revised Bible, which had just been issued in their native 
language. On all sides indeed the people, despite their 
illiteracy, were favourably disposed ; groups of readers 
and inquirers sprang up, and even for the numberless 
gipsies who roamed through the land Bible meetings were 

1 The question of a Gipsy version was considered, but the number of dialects 
and the unlettered condition of the people prevented anything from being done. 


From the first the Greek Metropolitan at Belgrade was 
hostile to the work of the Society in Servia. But the attacks 
in the press failed to stir up popular prejudice ; the illegal 
action of the police was arrested ; and the hasty prohibition 
against the importation and sale of the Scriptures was with- 
drawn. At this time (1862) the New Testament was the 
only part of the Bible in Serb. A version of the Psalms 
by Professor Dani9i9 appeared in 1864, and was warmly 
received, notwithstanding the opposition in high places. 
Other books of the Old Testament followed, and in June 
1868 a copy of the first Serb Bible was bound and inscribed 
for presentation to Michael Prince of Servia at the moment 
he was shot down during his evening walk in the forest 
of Topschidere. The volume was afterwards placed in the 
hands of his youthful grand-nephew and successor, Prince 
Milan — "a legacy, as it were, left by the august Prince, 
so untimely cut off." 

Once more the Metropolitan assailed the Society. He 
indignantly urged the Government to prevent the circulation 
of a corrupt and unfaithful version. The courteous challenge 
of the agent to point out errors or inaccuracies was ignored, 
and without waiting for an official reply, he launched an 
interdict in which he required all bishops, priests, and heads 
of convents to report any one known to have intercourse 
with "a certain heretic, Victor" — the depositary at Belgrade. 
The more enlightened refused to submit. The Bishop of 
Pakrac, in Slavonia, frankly dissented : "You bring light to 
our people in their darkness, and surely we need not dread 
the light." The integrity of the version was acknowledged 
by a leading Roman Catholic review, and both Churches 
(Greek and Roman) were pressed to issue it in the form 
prescribed by their rules, "for if things are allowed to remain 
as they are, no prohibition will be of any avail." Even the 
modified Cyrillic character used by Dani9i9 — "the new 
system " — which had been opposed by the clergy and ridiculed 

i884] THE NAZARENES 203 

in the press, was adopted by the Government as the standard, 
for Servia. With the Servian edition 5000 copies were 
printed in Roman type for Croatia, 1 and two years later a 
beautiful large-type Serb Bible with references left the press. 

In 1870 the agency was specially exempted from the 
restrictive provisions of the new press law, and in 1872 an 
attempt of the Greek Church to put a stop to colportage was 
exposed and defeated. Meanwhile Mr Victor and his men 
ranged successfully afield in Servia, Slavonia, and part of 
Croatia. Education, in which the Scriptures found a place, 
made rapid progress ; schools were multiplied ; Mr Victor 
made the children his special care ; the teachers were friendly, 
and, even at the risk of "losing their beards," the Greek 
priests in general were kindly disposed. Much was seen of 
the Nazarenes, a numerous and increasing sect both here 
and in Hungary, who from principle endured ignominy, 
stripes, and imprisonment rather than take military service. 
The Bible was their only book; the "simple Gospel 
of Jesus Christ " their religion ; and their desire for the 
Scriptures naturally brought them in contact with the 
Belgrade depot. 

At the beginning of 1874, when the Servian circulation 
for ten years exceeded 76,000 copies, Roumania was transferred 
from the Turkish to the Austrian Agency. Mr Victor was 
removed to Bucharest, the Rouman capital ; the Belgrade 
depot was closed, but a supply of Scriptures was placed 
in charge of the tried colporteur Lichtenberger, and the 
district passed into the immediate supervision of Mr Millard 
at Vienna. An account of the earlier work in Roumania 
will be found in the next chapter. From its transfer it was 
continued on the same lines, but with a greatly expanded 
circulation, from the depot-centres at Bucharest and Jassy, 
until Turkish oppression fired the train of risings and revolts 
which closed in the disastrous war with Russia. 

' Croat was then merely Serb in Roman character. A new orthography was 
brought in by the Government in 1876, and a revised New Testament, in which 
obsolete words were changed, was published a year later. 


In the autumn of 1875 the long-suffering Christian 
peasantry of Herzegovina were driven to despair by the 
bad harvest and the rapacity of their Moslem landlords and 
tax-gatherers. They took to the mountains, and kept soul 
and body together by raiding their oppressors. In Bosnia 
savage feuds broke out between the Mohammedans and the 
Christians, and thousands of refugees fled to the Austrian 
frontiers. The first symptoms of insurrection in Bulgaria 
were quelled by the atrocities which sent a thrill of horror 
through Europe. Unable to restrain their people, Servia 
and Montenegro declared war against the Turks on the ist 
and 2nd July 1876. 

On the first rumour of hostilities preparations were made 
for Mr Victor and his men to take the field. They were not 
allowed to march with the troops, but the Servian War Office 
gave them access to the military hospitals. In three tours 
they swept south to the very edge of the battle-fields. On 
the roads they met straggling groups of wounded soldiers ; 
they passed through towns resounding with trumpet-calls 
and the roll of drums, through villages crowded with peasant 
families whose homes had been destroyed by the enemy. 
Nineteen towns and sixty-five hospitals and lazarettes — the 
building sometimes a school-house, sometimes a country 
mansion — were visited, and 4188 copies of the Word of God 
were distributed gratis amid scenes of suffering and death. 
Dr Laseron of Belgrade was provided with 8000 or gooo 
Servian Testaments at a nominal cost, and a number of 
other workers were supplied. 

Thanks to the generosity of private friends the colporteurs 
were able at that stormy time to feed the hungry and clothe 
the naked. Many a cup of cocoa and basin of broth was 
made for soldiers fallen by the wayside ; and bread, blankets, 
wooden shoes were distributed among the poor Bosnians. 
One day a colporteur surprised his good wife at Agram by 
bringing home a troop of children whose parents had been 


murdered by the Turks. The hearts of the townsfolk were 
touched, and in a little while numbers of boys and girls 
were adopted by the kindly people in Croatia and Slavonia. 
On the mountains above Ragusa and along the Dalmatian 
shores were hundreds of fugitives from Herzegovina — huddled 
in rude tents, begging their bread, all miserable. The col- 
porteurs bought food for them, read them verses of hope and 
comfort, and gave portions of the Word of God to those who 
could read. 

Russian volunteers had poured into Servia in thousands 
to the aid of their kinsmen and co-religionists. In Russia 
itself the excitement was intense ; towards the end of the 
year 160,000 troops were mobilised ; and when at length 
Turkey refused to submit to the surveillance of the Powers, 
the Czar gave the order to advance. Military distribution 
began in January 1877 among the contingents at Warsaw, 
at the great camp at Kischenev, at Balta, Odessa, and Tiflis. 
Upwards of 20,000 copies were sold before war was declared. 
It seemed a special providence that 10,000 Russian Bibles, 
and 113,000 New Testaments, Psalters, and Portions had just 
left the press at Vienna, and so relieved the strain put on the 
Holy Synod for large supplies. 

When the Czar's forces entered Roumania the Odessa 
colporteurs who accompanied them passed into Mr Millard's 
charge, and Mr Watt, the agent for South Russia, was left 
free to attend to the army of the Caucasus. The incidents of 
the campaign recalled the Bible-work on the French battle- 
fields. Many a night without shelter, exposed to heat, 
cold, hard fare, and disease, the little band of sixteen were 
mercifully protected. They lost but one comrade, a young 
Russ, who died of typhus. On the Turkish side the 
Stamboul men stuck to their posts amid the red orgies 
of Circassians and Bashi-bazouks. When Rustchuk had 
fallen, the faithful Krzossa returned to his depot. He found 
it standing untouched in a street of ruins. The rooms were 


occupied by Russian officers, who treated him with distinc- 
tion when they learnt who he was ; and many a " God bless 
you! " "God bless those who sent you !" was heard when 
he set to work once more. 

The crossing of the Danube cut off the Stamboul men 
from their base, and Bulgaria was annexed for the time 
to the Austrian Agency. Severe illness had compelled 
the Rev. Dr Thomson to leave Constantinople, but his 
place was admirably filled by his assistant, Mr Sellar. In 
November leave was granted him for a visit to the Russian 
prisoners in the capital. At the sight of the Scriptures in 
" Ruski," there was a cry of joy, and a rush upon the 
colporteur and his books. The poor fellows offered all 
they had for a Psalter or a Testament. Two months later 
another pass was reluctantly given. The cold weather had 
set in, and the three hundred prisoners were in a heart- 
breaking condition. Half of them were barefoot, a number 
had no coats, others no trousers ; one who had been sur- 
prised in his tent at night shivered in a calico night-dress 
and a piece of sacking. Even the vile straw pallets left by 
the Turkish soldiers had not been changed. Little could 
be done by private assistance. The matter reached one of 
the Embassies ; Mr Sellar was given carte blanche to do 
all in his power for the relief of the unhappy creatures ; 
and the Porte was shamed into more humane treatment of 
its captives. His last interview with them was at Scutari 
at the moment of their embarking for home. Calling out 
several of the sergeants, he asked them to hand back to 
him all the books which they were leaving behind in the 
barracks. "Your books?" was the astonished and re- 
proachful reply. "Our reminders of you? The Holy 
Gospel of Jesus Christ? If you wish it, we will leave out 
coats and boots and sacks ; but the books ! we keep them 
till the day we die." Stern voices gave the word of 
command ; the band struck up ; and Mr Sellar, in the 


place of honour with the Turkish commandant and the 
Grand Duke's lieutenant, marched with them to their ship. 
These things were neither unknown nor forgotten in high 
places. In the course of the year Mr Sellar received a 
diamond ring from the Czar in recognition of his services 
to the Russian prisoners of war. 

Meanwhile in Moscow and other towns, in the hospitals 
in Poland and along the banks of the Volga, the Word of 
God was distributed with the help of ladies of rank, nobles, 
and military officers, among the legions of sick and wounded. 
The decoration of the Red Cross was bestowed on Mr Kantor 
of the Warsaw depot as an acknowledgment of the untiring 
solicitude of his daughter and himself. Several thousands of 
Gospels and as many New Testaments as could be procured 
were given away among the Ottoman prisoners as they were 
drafted into the interior. They returned with not unfriendly 
recollections of their conquerors, and with some glimmerings 
of what Christianity might mean : " They gave us food, and 
kind care, and clothes and books." 

There are no complete figures to show the extent of these 
operations ; but from the beginning of the Russo-Turkish 
war in April 1877 to the end of January 1879 upwards of 
242,000 copies of Scripture, in fifteen languages, were cir- 
culated (over 97,000 by sale) among the troops in Roumania 
and Bulgaria, while the war issues from St Petersburg and 
Odessa amounted to 236,000 — a total exceeding 478,000, or 
little less than half a million. The expenditure for books, 
carriage, and colportage was set down, on the lowest estimate, 
at ;^24,ooo. 

Under the Treaty of Berlin, Austria was intrusted with 
the occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which were 
accordingly transferred to the agency of the Empire. The 
trusty depositary Tabory, who had passed safely through 
the Bosnian conflicts, held his ground till the Austrian troops 
forced an entry into Serajevo ; and with them arrived three 


intrepid Biblemen with a fresh stock of Scriptures. Liberty 
of conscience had been granted by the Treaty, but the usual 
Austrian restrictions were imposed on the Society, and at 
the close of the period a solitary colporteur was patiently 
labouring in Bosnia in the hope of better days. 

The restoration of peace was followed by that year of 
dearth and suffering (1879) which left its traces all over 
Europe. In some parts of Austria Government relief was 
required to keep the people from starvation ; in Poland men 
committed suicide in the hope of exciting compassion for 
their wives and little ones. 

It was the twenty -fifth anniversary of the Emperor's 
marriage, and on the 21st April a Bible, with an address 
of congratulation and good wishes from the Committee, 
was presented to their Imperial Majesties, and warmly 

A deputation sent by the Evangelical Alliance to plead 
for a more genuine religious liberty was graciously received 
by the Emperor, and two years later the Centenary of the 
Edict of Toleration ( 1 3th October 1 78 1 ) was celebrated by about 
two hundred and thirty Reformed and Lutheran churches.^ 
But a free course for the Word of God seemed to be as far 
from realisation as it was nearly twenty years before. How 
could it be otherwise? Priestly ascendancy based on the 
superstition of the people was enormous, but the real power 
of the Church of Rome came from the political exigencies 
of the Government. The concession of licences was in the 
hands of the local authorities, and few of these had either 
the sense of justice or the moral courage to sanction the 
dissemination of the Scriptures. In the last years of the 
period increased rigour indicated the dominance of the spiritual 

In Lower Austria, including Vienna, the military were 

^ Much kind feeling was caused by the distribution of 1700 Testaments among 
them in the name of the Committee. 


forbidden to purchase. Every version but the German was 
struck out of the list of "samples" that might be shown by 
the Bible "traveller," and a year elapsed before the Central 
Government, yielding to an appeal strongly supported by 
the Royal Board of Protestant Worship, cancelled the 
decision. In Bohemia and Moravia, where the men might 
take orders, the priests obtained from the Post Office the 
names of subscribers, in order to interfere before delivery 
and payment. In the Tyrol, swarming with Jesuits expelled 
from France, even orders could not be taken. In Carinthia, 
in Styria, in Carniola, in Croatia, in Galicia (another Jesuit 
El Dorado), the work was harassed by priestly espionage, 
or mob-violence, or inquisitorial raids, or illegal arrests, or 
prosecution, or confiscation and withdrawal of licences. 

More than once, when the law was violated and the lives 
of good men were jeopardised, the Committee thought of 
memorialising the Government ; but these things, it was felt, 
were best left to the divine care. Enough that a blessing 
was evident in the progress made not only in Hungary, 
where prison-work was extending, and theological students 
and professors were teaching in the Sunday schools, and 
Moravian mission stations were springing up, but in Austria 
itself. The circulation in Bohemia — largely among Roman 
Catholics — was described as marvellous ; even in Galicia, 
where only 13 per cent, of the population could read, the 
colporteur was blazing a track for the evangelist. In 
the last years of the period the circulation in the agency 
showed increase upon increase — in 1881 an increase of 
8000, in 1882 an increase of 9700, in 1883 an increase of 
19,200 copies. 

A Bible and copies of The Gospel in Many Tongues were 
presented to King Charles of Roumania and his Protestant 
poet-queen "Carmen Sylva," on their coronation in 1881. 
A similar courtesy was paid to Prince Milan on his pro- 
clamation as King of Servia in March 1882. May, that 

VOL. III. o 


year, was marked by the wonderful preservation of the 
Society's vast stock of Scriptures, stored in the adjoining 
premises, when so many lives were lost in the burning of 
the Ring Theatre. 

In the matter of versions, the revised Polish New Testa- 
ment was issued in 1883. An edition of 10,000 copies of 
the New Testament, Karoli's version, which had been revised 
by three distinguished Magyar scholars, left the press in 
the same year. In response to the entreaties of a Wendish 
population, many of them Protestants, among the mountains 
on the Styrian border, there was also printed a corrected 
edition of the New Testament and Psalms which appeared 
forty years earlier. In 1882 the Sloven New Testament, 
completed by Professor Stritar of Vienna, was published 
with his translation of the Psalms for a million of people, 
among whom the only Protestant was the colporteur, himself 
a convert. 

From 1864 to 1884 the total distribution in the Austrian 
Agency exceeded 2,620,000 volumes, in upwards of a dozen 
languages, but chiefly in German, Hungarian, Czech, and 
Rouman. It was a striking fact that in the five years 
1874-78 more Scriptures were sold in Hebrew than in Magyar 
or Bohemian. From 1871 to 1884, apart from Judceised 
versions, the Hebrew circulation numbered over 188,200 

The accounts of the Austrian Agency began in 1866. 
From that date the expenditure amounted to £28^,61"}, and 
the receipts to ;^83,i94. 

From the outset a warm interest was taken at home in 
the development of colportage. One good man provided a 
Bibleman's cot and potato - patch in Poland ; two others 
presented ;^6o each for efforts in particular districts ; and 
in 1869 Mr Robert Arthington of Leeds sent the agency 
the handsome donation of ;^200. By 1872 the staff had 
been doubled — forty-two tried men, several of them trained 

1884] VETERANS 211 

at St Chrischona. In 1884 there were sixty in the field, 
all natives. Two had served for more than twenty-three, 
eight for more than fourteen, and four for more than ten 
years. In no country, probably, was the organised work 
more effectually supplemented by voluntary helpers. 



The Crimean victories and the safety of Turkey gave 
Christianity a prestige unknown in the annals of Islam. In 
February 1856 the Sultan issued the Hatti-Humayoun, which 
guaranteed his subjects a free choice between the Koran and 
the Bible, placed the evidence of a Christian on the same 
footing as that of a Moslem, and legalised the circulation 
of the Scriptures. In the pillared cloister of one of the 
great mosques was seen the novel spectacle of an old green- 
turbaned descendant of the Prophet offering the Bible for 
sale during the fast of Ramazan. The number of inquirers, 
occasional conversions, and the formation of groups of pro- 
fessed believers demonstrated that, for a time at least, a real 
freedom of conscience had been conceded. 

On both sides of the Dardanelles the work of the agency 
depended on the co-operation of the missionaries and their 
colporteurs. In 1857 sixty stations and outposts of the 
American Board extended across Asia Minor to the Persian 
border ; and from Constantinople and the sub-depot at 
Smyrna consignments of Scriptures were constantly passing 
along the trade routes until this portion of the field was left 
entirely to American effort. 

The Gospel of St Matthew, translated into Kurdish by 
Baron Sdepan, was issued in Armenian characters in 1856, 
and was so eagerly received at Diarbekir that an edition of 
the other Gospels speedily followed. The Kurds indeed had 
no books, had not even an alphabet, but there was a con- 


[i854-i884] EUROPEAN TURKEY 213 

siderable Armenian population which, though it had lost its 
native tongue, remembered its printed character. 

From places far apart, where the Greco-Turkish and 
Armeno-Turkish versions were used, one heard of many 
instances of a new life springing up through the reading of 
the Word of God. But immunity was not always secured 
by the Sultan's charter. Near Broussa a Greek priest, who 
had become Protestant with about thirty of his people, was 
carried off in chains by order of the Bishop, and was only 
saved from banishment by the British Consul. At Mush 
another priest, who had distributed a box of Bibles, would 
have been stripped of his robes had not the people risen 
against the indignity. 

Progress in European Turkey was retarded by the diffi- 
culty of obtaining suitable men, but south of the Danube two 
colporteurs were afield selling the Scriptures in Bulgarian, 
Modern Greek, Servian, and French ; and excellent service 
was rendered by the American missionaries, who had just 
settled at Adrianople, Varna, and Shumla. Though the 
Archbishop was openly hostile, other prelates were more 
largely endowed with the apostolic spirit, and in many 
churches the Gospel lessons were read in Bulgarian as well 
as the unintelligible ancient Greek. The Bulgarian people 
prized the Word of God in their own tongue ; they were 
anxious for the education of their children ; they were 
passionately set upon having their own National Church. 
In this last they succeeded in 1870.^ 

North of the Danube Mr S. Mayer, sometime of the 
London Jews Mission, travelled with two colporteurs over 
Wallachia and Moldavia. There the adverse influence of 
the Greek Church was little felt, and the Wallachian 
(Rouman) New Testament passed largely into circulation. 

1 It was the first outstanding event in their struggle as a people. "Early in the 
year 1870 the Bulgarian Church came into existence, with an Exarch of its own at 
Constantinople." — Holland Rose, The Development of the European Nations, p. 252. 


There were book-centres at Jassy and Krajova, and small 
depots at Widdin, Rustchuk, and Ibraila along the Danube. 
In 1857 Mr Barker visited Bucharest and was warmly re- 
ceived by his old friend Prince Alexander Ghika, who had 
sanctioned the first edition of the Rouman New Testament. 
Professor Aristias was commissioned to translate the Old. 
Genesis was finished and printed in the course of the year, 
and by the end of 1859 the Psalter was in the hands of the 
people. One of the most striking "signs of the times" 
was the advocacy of Scripture-reading and religious tolera- 
tion by the Bucharest press: "It is the study of the Bible 
which makes a nation great." 

So matters stood when Mr Benjamin Barker died at 
Constantinople, 20th September 1859. During nine-and- 
thirty years his hand had scattered more widely than any 
other the sacred writings which had awakened so many 
among the Jewish and Moslem people, and had led to the 
reform movement in the Armenian Church. Mr Bergne, the 
Secretary, then on an official visit to the Levant, attended his 
funeral. Mrs Barker had died two years earlier. Provision 
was made by the Committee for his young family. 

During this brief interval nearly 29,000 volumes in the 
versions of the agency were printed for the Society at the 
American Mission press, Constantinople. Gratuitous dis- 
tribution had practically ceased on the withdrawal of the 
Allies ; and from that date to the beginning of i860 upwards 
of 82,000 copies were put into circulation in European Turkey 
and Asia Minor. 

Meanwhile 73,000 copies in upwards of forty languages 
had been issued from the depot of the Malta Agency, 
whose affairs it will be convenient to mention at this point. 
The "forbidden books" were safely landed at Trieste, 
Ancona, Naples, and Leghorn. Supplies were sent to 
Gibraltar and the North African cities where the Jewish 


missionaries were stationed ; and Mr Lowndes visited 
Tripoli, whither no missionary had ventured, but the Hebrew 
version had found its way under the sail of the Barbary 
trader. In Malta itself the people, ignorant, bigoted, 
abjectly submissive to their clergy, were almost inacces- 
sible. But for the school children, Greece seemed well- 
nigh hopeless. The average yearly issue from the depot at 
Athens was under 3000 copies. Many of these were sold 
to the American missionaries ; more than half were distri- 
buted gratis among the Government schools. In 1859 the 
depot was placed in charge of Dr Kalopothakes, editor of 
The Star in the East and a staunch advocate of Gospel 
truth, and he at once introduced the system of sale. 

Syria, Palestine, and Egypt were included in the Malta 
Agency. Thrice in the seven years Mr Lowndes made a 
tour of inspection, and correspondence kept him in touch 
with the numerous centres of Christian activity. The 
Society's books were used in the Mission schools at 
Antioch, in Lebanon, at Damascus. From Beyrout Hebrew 
Scriptures were sent to the Jews east of the Euphrates. At 
Jerusalem a book-shop was opened, and a room set apart 
for the privacy of those who wished to read the Bible, but 
were afraid to have it in their possession. 

In 1859 Mr Bergne visited both Jerusalem and Beyrout. 
On the invitation of Bishop Gobat he delivered the first 
Bible Society address ever heard on Mount Zion, and 
before leaving he gave £i<j to provide for colportage in 
the surrounding country. At the Syrian sea-port he had 
several interviews with the Rev. Dr Van Dyck regarding 
the new Arabic version. This had been begun in 1848 by 
Dr Eli Smith of the American Foreign Missions, who 
translated the New Testament and a dozen books of the 
Old, and on whose death in January 1857 the task was 
taken up by his colleague, Van Dyck. At that moment the 
New Testament was passing through the Mission press. 


In Egypt systematic work had scarcely been begun. 
After various unsuccessful efforts an Association was formed 
by ministers and merchants at Alexandria in 1858, and in 
the following year Mr Bergne held the first public Bible 
Society meeting at the depot which had been opened in 
the colonnade of one of the mosques. In i860 the Com- 
mittee joined the American missionaries at Cairo in a 
Bible voyage into Upper Egypt. Travellers and tourists 
assisted in the work of distribution ; and among these 
voluntary helpers the Earl of Aberdeen sold between 300 
and 400 volumes " at a very fair price." On the Earl's 
suggestion a handsome Turkish Bible was presented to the 
Vali or Viceroy of Egypt, who had shown great considera- 
tion towards the English at Alexandria and the American 
missionaries at Cairo.^ 

Suddenly upon the peaceful work in Syria burst the 
storm of the Druse and Turkish massacres in the spring of 
i860. The Maronite villages near Beyrout were harried 
with fire and sword. At Damascus the Christian quarter 
and the consulates of six Christian nations were laid in ruins, 
and 3000 inhabitants perished. The disorder was promptly 
quelled by the action of England and France, but thousands 
of Christians were homeless, and the great quantities of 
Scriptures distributed by the Society had been carried off 
or destroyed. 

The year i860 was marked by an important rearrange- 
ment of the Mediterranean Agencies. The vacancy caused by 
the death of Mr Barker was filled by the appointment of the 
Rev. Alexander Thomson, secretary of the Constantinople 
Auxiliary, and for seventeen years a Free Church of Scotland 
missionary to the Jews. Mr Lowndes, who had assisted to 
found the Malta Auxiliary in 181 7, retired at the end of the 
year,^ and the great district of which he had taken charge 

'The title of "Khedive" (Sovereign) was bought at a heavy price from the 
Sultan by Ismail in 1867. 

^ In the quiet of Cornwall he prepared marginal references to the Modern Greek 


was divided. Greece was transferred to the Turkish Agency. 
Malta, North Africa, Syria, Palestine, and Egypt were added 
to the Italian Agency under Mr Bruce, with Mr T. J. Kirby 
as his sub-agent at Malta. 

Ten years later, at the close of 1870, Syria, Palestine, 
and Egypt were annexed to the Turkish Agency, but this 
arrangement was not final, and need only be mentioned in 
the present chapter. 

So far there had been little to check the course of Bible- 
work in Turkey ; but as external pressure on the Ottoman 
Government was relaxed, time showed how illusory was the 
pledge of reforms, when their realisation depended on officials 
who, to use Lord Salisbury's phrase, "accepted them with 
reluctance and neglected them with impunity." In Bulgaria, 
where the struggle for religious independence grew in in- 
tensity, every act that stirred the people to new life and 
higher thought was violently resented by the Greek hierarchy. 
The Scriptures were denounced as "the cause of all the 
trouble " between the Bulgarians and the Greek patriarchate. 
They were seized by one archbishop ; all who purchased them 
were threatened with imprisonment by another. Through the 
corruption or the subservience of the local pashas colporteurs 
were imprisoned at Widdin and Varna, and expelled from 
Silistria. The protests of the British and American ambas- 
sadors secured no redress, and the special permit of the 
Governor-General of the province was disregarded by his 
own subordinates. 

In 1864 a gross violation of the Sultan's engagements 
took place in the capital itself. On the i8th July the 
Society's depot at Stamboul was seized by the Turkish 
police.i Those in charge were ejected, the doors closed with 

Bible which he assisted Mr Leaves and Professor Bambas to translate. Bambas died 
at Athens in January 1855. Mr Lowndes passed away, aged eighty-three, at the house 
of his only daughter, at Basel, 1874. 

' On the same day the missions of the Church Missionary Society and the Society 
for the Propagation of the Gospel were suppressed. One of the missionaries and a 


ofBcial seals, and the premises searched — unsuccessfully, it 
need scarcely be said — for controversial tracts and books 
disparaging the Mohammedan religion. The case was laid 
before Earl Russell, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, 
who supported the Society's claim to the unrestricted dis- 
tribution of the Scriptures as "an essential and indispensable 
part of the religious liberty guaranteed by the Hatti-Huma- 
youn." The Turkish Government tendered an apology for 
their unwarranted proceedings, the depot was restored, and a 
temporary check was placed on the provincial pashas. But 
the hostility of the Porte was as unchangeable as that 
of Rome. In 1874 ^n application for sanction to print the 
Osmanli New Testament raised the whole question of the 
status of the Society and the privileges conceded in the 
charter of 1856. There was the usual shiftiness and evasion. 
The Turkish Minister in London, however, very plainly 
avowed the intention of the Porte. It was not to hinder 
the mere printing of the Scriptures, but to put a stop to 
"colportage" (which had been going on without public dis- 
turbance for nearly twenty years) and "gratuitous distribu- 
tion " (which was not the practice of the Society) " in the open 
streets of the capital." At length the requisite permission was 
secured through the powerful influence of the Earl of Derby, 
and the volume was ready for circulation in 1876. By that 
time Turkish misrule and oppression had provoked the 
desperate revolt which set the Balkans aflame, and brought 
the Russian legions almost to the gates of Stamboul. 

Few of those who have written of the making of Bulgaria 
seem to have been aware of the impulse which the work of 
the Society must have given to the aspirations of the people. 
In the Jubilee Year the New Testament, sanctioned by Arch- 
bishop Hilarion, was all that the Bulgarians possessed of 
the Word of God in their native tongue. The Psalter, 

Turkish clergyman were arrested ; several converts v^ere imprisoned for some days, but 
forty-seven otiier Christian Turks were sent to the galleys. 


prepared from the Modern Greek by Constantine Photinoff 
and revised by the Rev. Elias Riggs of the American 
Mission, was published in 1855 ; and the Bulgarian scholar 
proceeded to the translation of the Old Testament. Genesis, 
the Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes left the press in 1857. 
In his anxiety to finish his great undertaking, Photinoff 
persevered against every remonstrance almost to the day 
of his death. The MS. was completed in 1858, and Dr 
Riggs, Dr A. Long of the Methodist Episcopal Mission, 
M. Slaveikoff, and M. Christodul Costovich were appointed 
a board of revision. In the earlier books Photinoff had 
used the Western or Macedonian dialect ; in the later he 
adopted the Eastern, which was rapidly becoming the literary 
language. To this Eastern form M. Costovich modified 
the text of the Psalter, which was issued in i860, and the 
whole of his predecessor's work. The Pentateuch, forming 
the first volume of the Old Testament, appeared in i860 ; 
Joshua to Job, the second volume, two years afterwards — 
each in an edition of 1000 copies ; but the demand became 
so great that the printing order was doubled for the third 
volume, Psalms to Malachi, which was published in 1864. 
Two years later the British and American Societies shared 
the cost of an edition of the New Testament " easternised " 
by MM. Slaveikoff and Michaeloffsky, brother of Arch- 
bishop Hilarion. Five thousand copies of the Bulgarian 
Reference Bible were published in 187 1, and in 1874 
appeared the revised standard text in an edition of 10,000. 
In spite of such opposition as we have seen, the Scriptures 
were brought home to the people, dispersing the double 
darkness of illiteracy and superstition, for in these regions 
the colporteurs met with priests even who believed in 
the magic of the village witch, and who feared that the 
use of the Bulgarian Gospels might expose their own 
ignorance. Teachers were awakened to their responsibility 
in shaping the future of their country ; directors of education 


induced to adopt the Scriptures as school-books ; the people 
encouraged to compare the Society's books with their ancient 
Church version. 

In 1867 the country south of the Balkans was reserved 
by friendly arrangement to the American Bible Society ; 
the Scottish occupied Macedonia, where the bulk of the 
population was Bulgarian ; and the work of the agency in 
the wide district between the Balkans and the Danube was 
extended westward to the frontier of Servia. Soon there 
were Bible - readers and friends of the cause in well-nigh 
every town and village within the range of the colporteurs. 
But lights and shadows chased each other over the wide 
prospect. If the devout Hegoumen of some monastery 
charged parents and children to buy and study the Word 
of God, there were infidel teachers who spread their irreligion 
among the young. At Rasgrad a scoffer was taken to task 
by a priest, compelled to eat his words, and kiss the Bible ; 
at Vrania the people, under ecclesiastical menaces, tore up 
and burnt their books ; at Kasan the colporteur was invited 
to dinner in order that a wide circle of inquirers might hear 
him speak of divine things. Even the Moslem paid homage 
to Gospel truth. Handed over by his bishop to the civil 
power at Lompalanka, "With this only am I charged," 
said Philip the Bible-reader; "I do not sign myself with 
the cross, I refuse to worship the pictures. These things I 
cannot do; they are idolatry." "That is the true Gospel," 
replied the Kadi. " Go your way, mind your own affairs, 
and I shall see that you meet with no more annoyance." 

In 1875 enlightenment so far prevailed that the Bulgarian 
Evangelical Society was formed for the propagation of the 
Gospel in the Balkan peninsula. 

After the atrocities of 1876, two of the colporteurs in the 
Society's district — itself a scene of violence and rapine — 
were sent to assist in administering relief provided for the 
suffering people by the Constantinople committee. In other 


districts the men took part in similar work, and this active 
sympathy in the time of sorrow was not forgotten afterwards. 

In 1861 Wallachia and Moldavia became the Principality 
of Roumania. The union of the provinces developed an 
intense national spirit and a fearless desire for progress. 
Most of the monastic establishments were secularised ; the 
Government required that public worship should be con- 
ducted throughout in the common tongue ; provision was 
made for the advance of education. Out of this newly-turned 
soil sprang the wild flower of a native literature. The 
services of the Society, not only in the schools but in the 
general direction of men's minds to a religion purged of 
formalism and superstition, were gratefully recognised in 
all circles. Nowhere on the Continent had its agents more 
complete freedom of action. The colporteurs were welcomed 
by prefect and bishop ; permits were dispensed with by 
the chief of police ; they were hospitably received at the 
monasteries — one of them indeed was invited to join the 
brotherhood and end his days in the cloisters when he could 
travel no longer. It would have been strange, however, 
had there been no times of trial and discouragement, no 
opposition, mockery, and misrepresentation to endure. Pro- 
fessors occasionally interfered with the work, churchmen 
complained that the schools were filled with the books of a 
foreign society, and one prelate, whose services as a translator 
had not been accepted, forbade the purchase of the Scriptures 
in his diocese ; but in the main the Word of God entered 
as a potent influence into the spiritual and social progress 
of the country. 

In the six years 1854-59, 15,000 Rouman Testaments 
and 3000 copies of Genesis and the Psalms, translated by 
Professor Aristias, were published by the Society. The 
Pentateuch by Professor Balascescu was issued in 1864, 
and in the following year 5000 copies of the Octateuch, 
forming vol. i. of the Old Testament, were printed under the 


editorship of Professor Jerome of Jassy. Its circulation, 
however, was obstructed on the ground that the translator, 
instead of following the text of the Septuagint, had worked 
from the original Hebrew. All arguments and remonstrances 
were unavailing until the revolution of 1866 brought a more 
enlightened or less prejudiced Minister into power. Pro- 
fessor Jerome undertook the completion of the version, but 
abandoned the work on account of the suspicion it excited 
among the higher clergy. Vol. ii., Samuel to Psalms (7000 
copies), appeared in 1867, and vol. iii.. Proverbs to Malachi 
(8000 copies), in 1869 — both by other scholars, and revised 
at Jassy by the Rev. W. Mayer of the London Jews Society. 
Meanwhile a revised edition, with references, of the New 
Testament and Psalms, in Latin type, left the press in 1864, 
and a similar edition for those who read only the Cyrillian 
character was printed a year or two later. It thus became 
possible in 187 1 to make up and issue a complete volume of 
the Holy Scriptures. The text of the whole Rouman Bible 
was revised and harmonised by the Rev. W. Mayer and 
Professor Pallade of Jassy, and three editions were printed, 
one in 1873 at Pesth for the Austrian, the others at Jassy for 
the Turkish Agency in 1874. 

At the beginning of that year, for the sake of economy 
and convenience, Roumania, with its population of about 
4,000,000, its depots at Bucharest and Jassy, and its staff 
of four colporteurs, was transferred to the Austrian Agency. 
The circulation had just reached its highest point — 6630 
copies ; and during the fourteen years 1860-73, upwards of 
49,800 copies had been distributed — chiefly in Rouman, but 
also in German and French, and in the versions suitable to 
the Jews, whose interest had been deeply stirred. In 1854 
10,000 New Testaments represented the Society's work in 
Rouman; in 1874 no less than 154,500 Bibles, Testaments, 
and Portions had passed through the press. 

Dearth of men and the condition of the country long 


prevented any systematic effort on the western side of 
European Turkey, but in the spring of 1863 Dr Thomson 
ascended the Save from Belgrade, travelled through Bosnia 
by way of Berbir, Banjaluka, Traunitz, and Serajevo, and 
proceeded thence to Monastir, the capital of Herzegovina, 
and the old Adriatic city of Ragusa. As the result of this 
tour, Mr Tabory, an Austrian Protestant, was stationed in 
the autumn at Serajevo, among the descendants of the 
Sclavonic tribes which received the Scriptures in their 
mother-tongue from Cyril and Methodius in the ninth 
century. More than one-third of the population were now 
Mohammedans ; the rest, in almost equal numbers, belonged 
to the Latin and Greek Churches ; but the former — Moslems 
in creed, Servians in race and speech — unacquainted with 
Turkish and ignorant alike of the Roman and Cyrillian 
characters, were unable to use the Word of God in any 
version. A strange visiting, it seemed, of the sins of the 
renegade chiefs who, during the Ottoman conquest of Bosnia, 
saved their lands by the sacrifice of their ancient Christianity. 
Passing to the capital of Northern Albania, Dr Thomson 
found Scodra (Scutari), with its mysterious, high-walled 
suburb, a stronghold of Roman Catholicism. A majority of 
Christians along the seaboard of the province were Roman 
Catholics. The numerous Miridite clan, though polygamy 
was not unknown among them, were included in the same 
fold. Among the mountains and in the central part of the 
province, it was said, many of the Testaments distributed in 
the Crimea had been carried to their homes by the troops at 
the close of the war, but at Scutari there was " probably not 
a single copy of the Word of God in the hands of the 
common people." Early in 1864 Mr Hermann Riedel took 
up his residence there as sub-agent. The last stage of Dr 
Thomson's tour was Janina, where the Rev. S. Constantine 
of the American and Foreign Christian Union undertook to 
represent the Society in South Albania and Thessaly, but in 


May 1865 the sub-agency was put in charge of Mr Alexander 
Davidson, a young Edinburgh man. 

The work in these new fields was beset with peculiar 
difficulties. In Bosnia the people and, with occasional excep- 
tions, the Greek clergy were friendly, but even among the 
Christian population there were few readers. In Albania, 
ringed with mountains which might have been the bulwarks 
of a nation, differences of creed had destroyed the first con- 
ditions of national unity. Moslems, Romanists, Greeks using 
the Greek liturgy, Greeks using the Sclavic, the Albanians 
were broken up into sections which possessed no written 
vernacular literature and had been unable to adopt a common 
alphabet. The Society's edition of St Matthew (1824) had 
been the first book printed in Albanian. The New Testa- 
ment of 1827 was reprinted in 1858 after Mr Lowndes's last 
visit to Janina. This version was in Tosk, the speech of 
Southern Albania, but as reading in Tosk was taught in 
none of the schools little progress in Bible-work was possible. 

In Northern Albania, where Roman Catholics and Greeks 
were hostile, and the Turkish authorities obstructed col- 
portage until redress was obtained from Constantinople, 
the common tongue was Gheg, in which no part of the 
Scriptures had yet appeared. Happily at this juncture Dr 
Thomson met with an Albanian scholar, Mr Constantine 
Christophorides, who had translated the New Testament 
into this northern language. The MS. was at once revised, 
and the Four Gospels and Acts, printed in Roman type 
with the addition of specific characters, were issued in 1866, 
The news of the publication reached Scutari before the 
books, and these were denounced in advance from the altar 
in the cathedral as " subversive of the faith of God and of 
His Christ." Whosoever purchased them "sinned against 
the Holy Ghost, and was cursed of the same " ; nay, even 
those who spoke to the person who sold them, or answered 
his questions, drew on his head the same malediction. 

1884] TOSK AND GHEG 225 

In Constantinople, however, there was an Albanian 
population of some 20,000, who served both as a field for 
evangelisation and a medium of distribution. The col- 
porteur was busy among them, and contact with the life 
of the capital enabled them to perceive some of the possi- 
bilities of this new movement among their countrymen. A 
number of the copies which they purchased were sent home. 
The strange orthography was mastered. Around Dibra 
especially, in the Black Drin valley, where Servian was 
taught in the schools, and Sclavonic used in the churches, 
priests and people hailed with pleasure the appearance of 
these books in the fireside speech. Editions of the Psalms, 
translated by Christophorides into Tosk and Gheg, were 
published in 1868, and Moslems from both the Gheg and 
Tosk tribes — kadis, mudrisis, men of position — visited the 
depot to purchase and to learn the character. 

The orthographic system adopted by the Society became 
at this time a matter of peculiar importance, and in 1869, 
when the New Testament in Gheg passed through the press, 
no little anxiety was felt lest it should be subverted by one 
of the new alphabets devised by the Albanian commission 
under the Government scheme of education. Their pro- 
posals, however, were coupled with plans for new schools 
and the support of schoolmasters, which the Government 
found too expensive, and further action was stayed by 
the adverse influence of the Greek and Roman Churches, 
' ' terrified at the prospect of so much light being intro- 
duced among the people." So with this danger averted, 
revised editions of the New Testament and Psalter were 
put into circulation in 1872. 

Meanwhile distribution was carried on with many 
chequered experiences. Riedel, whose wife had opened a 
girls' school at Scutari, traversed Northern Albania from 
Durazzo to Prisrend and from Berat to Ipek. In that old 
ecclesiastical capital of the Servia of Stephen Dushan he 



was warmly welcomed by the Patriarch. Many of his 
journeys extended into Montenegro, where new schools 
were in need of his books and old friends eagerly awaited 
fresh portions of the Serb version. His work was taken 
up by Edward Van Laer in 1867, and by an old St 
Chrischona scholar in 1870. In his tours through the 
inland towns of the south, among the romantic villages on 
the Khimara coast, along the snowy slopes of Pindus, Mr 
Davidson brought the sacred books into strange scenes. 
Copies were sold where once divine oracles were sought 
among the oaks of Dodona. Mountain hamlets were visited, 
in which there were only women, children, and old men ; 
the lads, marrying young, left their homes and wives when 
they reached manhood, and frequently did not return from 
the distant cities for fifteen or twenty years. At the bright 
terraced town of Metzovo, which held the most important 
pass on Pindus, there was a numerous colony of Wallachs 
(Vlachs), who had been carriers in the mountains for centuries. 
They read and spoke Greek, but their family tongue was 
Rouman. Unhappily, they could not read the Latin or 
Cyrillian character of the Rouman version, but by a curious 
coincidence their discontent with ecclesiastical rule led, in 
1868, to the opening of schools under teachers from Roumania. 
From time to time journeys were taken into Thessaly, 
which was part of the sub-agency. At the beginning of 
1868, however, a depot was established at Volo, on the 
classic shore of the Argonauts under the forests of Pelion ; 
and Mr Zabanski was placed in charge of a district cursed 
with priestcraft, superstition, and brigandage. A page 
from one of his letters vividly suggests the condition of 
things. A brigand chief who had harried Thessaly for ten 
years came in to make his peace with the Government. 
Low in stature, broad-chested, powerful and fleet-footed, the 
man was dressed in picturesque Albanian garb, with many 
rosaries and two broad silver chains across his breast. 


One of these was attached to a powder-flask ; the other 
to a small leather case. The case contained a revered 
talisman to which he attributed a "charmed life," and he 
had enshrined it in massive silver covers. It was a very- 
old copy of the Gospels in Ancient Greek! "I gave him 
a Modern Greek Testament of the same size, that he might 
read and see what the contents of his treasure really were." 
At Larissa, Tricala, Turnovo, Pharsalus, the kadi bought, 
the aged mullah commended the Scriptures to his followers, 
the Israelite gave them a place on his stall at the fair. 
Turks and Jews urged the Christians to buy their own 
religious books, but of all things it was "the contents of 
the treasure" which the Church most dreaded to see in 
the hands of the people. 

In 1870 Mr Davidson was transferred to Crete ; a 
merchant at Janina took over the Society's stock ; and 
Zabanski found time amid his Thessalian tours and his 
trips to Eubcea, Skopelos, Thasos, and other islands, for 
excursions into Southern Albania. Two years later Northern 
Albania was in a similar condition, but Mr Christophorides 
had himself taken the field, instructing his countrymen in 
the "new reading," and arousing them to the value of the 
alphabet and literature in their native speech which the 
Society had given them in the Gheg and Tosk Scriptures. 
His return to Elbassan after one of his inspiring circuits 
was "rather a triumphal procession than the return of a 
peaceful literary man to his humble home." The sales 
sprang up to something over 1000 copies a year. The 
Scriptures were introduced into a number of boys' and 
girls' schools. They were even bought by many Roman 
Catholics at Durazzo and Tyrana, and by a few at Avlona, 
and copies found their way into Scutari. When he left to 
continue his version work. Colporteur Klundt, who had 
been stationed at Uskup near the Macedonian border in 
1872, entered the country. He was arrested as a Russian 


spy at Scutari ; his books were seized by the Governor of 
Prisrend ; and on two of his journeys he was only saved 
from brigands by the bravery of his muleteer. 

Travelling incessantly, but effecting very limited sales, 
Tabory had been twelve years at work when Herzegovina 
revolted against Turkey, and Bosnia joined the insurgents. 
In the fierce collisions between Christians and Moslems at 
Serajevo his house was set on fire, and he fled for safety 
beyond the Save, where he was sheltered by a kindly 
Roman Catholic priest. He was soon at his post again, 
and did good service among the wounded when the Austrians 
occupied these provinces, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as 
we have seen, became part of the Austrian Agency. 

We return to the headquarters of the agency. Amid 
the busy routine of missionary co-operation, the traffic of 
respectable hawkers who frequented the depots in Stamboul 
and Pera, colportage in the streets, among the shipping 
and the Russian pilgrim steamers in the Golden Horn, and 
along the shores of the Euxine and the Sea of Marmora, 
the opening of a handsome new Bible House in 1872 for 
the joint occupancy of the British and American Societies^ 
marked an epoch in Christian work under Turkish rule. 
Forty years earlier, it was remembered, toleration and 
religious liberty were unknown even in principle ; and a 
headless trunk torn by the savage street-dogs of the capital 
warned ' ' the faithful " of the doom of apostasy. 

Little is recorded of the Constantinople Auxiliary, but up 
to 1876 it contributed ;^757 to the Society. Gifts, too, from 
the mission schools betokened the goodwill of a new genera- 
tion. Of one staunch Bibleman, Colporteur Goldstein, a 
word must be said. Arrested and rearrested, rebuked and 
reprimanded, he was allowed at last to go his way — blame- 

1 The project was initiated by Dr Bliss, the American agent for the Levant. To 
facilitate the progress of the work ;^iooo was advanced as prepaid rent by the 
London Committee. 


less and incorrigible. Ulemas, imams, mullahs, Dervish 
recluses received the Scriptures from his hands. As he 
passed a Turkish house a woman's voice from a latticed 
window stopped him: "What books have you? Have you 
Protestant books ? Show me one " ; and a copy of the 
Word of Life passed into the harem. He sold a New 
Testament in the precincts of St Sophia itself. At the 
Greek Theological Seminary on Khalki Island, year after 
year he was a favoured guest, and discussed high questions 
of belief and practice with Bulgarian and Greek prelates. 
On his sick-bed the aged Bishop of Silivri, once not too 
friendly, sent for him to ask his prayers and to commend 
him to his suffragan. He had been thirteen years in the 
service when the war-ships of Britain, the United States, 
Germany, Sweden, and Russia lay in Turkish waters on the 
eve of the war, and he was welcomed as a visitor among them. 
In the midst of this busy field-work we must here find 
place for an account of the Osmanli version. To meet the 
splendid opportunity presented by the political events of 
1854-56, 5000 copies of the Turkish New Testament, revised 
by Mr J. W. Redhouse, were hastened through the English 
press in 1857 ; and 3000 Armeno-Turkish Bibles and three 
editions of the New Testament (15,000 copies) were printed 
at the American Mission press, Constantinople, in 1857-58.^ 
But among those best qualified to speak of missionary require- 
ments and to judge the defects and limitations of the existing 
Turkish text a strong desire was expressed for a version in 
pure idiomatic Turkish, which should appeal to the educated 
middle class, and should be suitable — this was in some 
measure an afterthought — for transliteration into all the scripts 
of the Empire. The idea was at once adopted by the 

1 The Armeno-Turkish New Testament {i.e., Turkish in Armenian character), 
by the Rev. Dr W. Goodell of the American Foreign Missions, was published at 
Malta at the expense of the Society in 1831. The Bible (including the Testament of 
1831 revised) was printed in 1843 at Constantinople, — the Old Testament at the 
expense of the American Bible Society. The version had been revised for this edition 
of 1857, and was yet again revised for a later edition in 1863. 


Committee, who undertook the whole expense of the project, 
and its execution was intrusted to the Rev. Dr Schauffleur 
of the American Foreign Missions, a man of signal attain- 
ments — "he spoke ten languages and read as many 
more " — and editor of the Judso-Spanish Old Testament. 
Goodell's Armeno-Turkish version was put before him for 
transcription into Arabic character, with such simple modi- 
fications as might appear necessary. Goodell's translation, 
however, had been made for the Armenian peasantry, who had 
ceased to use the tongue of their race and had not learned 
the script of their Turkish neighbours ; and Schauflfleur had 
not proceeded far in his transcription before discovering 
that his appointed task was impracticable. An independent 
Osmanli version was accordingly sanctioned at the cost of 
the British and American Bible Societies. 

With the tardy consent of the Turkish officials, the Four 
Gospels and Acts were issued in 1862. So far the new 
translation was regarded as "more idiomatic, more generally 
intelligible to all classes, and more faithful to the original than 
any preceding edition." The complete New Testament with 
references appeared in 1866, and a tentative edition of the 
Psalms followed in 1868; but the style of the Psalter met 
with distinctly unfavourable criticism on the ground of its 
poetic obscurity. 

In 1868 another distinguished American linguist, the Rev. 
A. T. Pratt, M.D., was commissioned to revise Goodell's 
Armeno-Turkish version.^ On the publication of his New 
Testament in 1870 the consensus of missionary opinion that 
he had gone far to realise the common text originally proposed, 
raised anew the whole problem of Turkish translation. Its 
solution was left by the Bible Societies to a board of 
experts, who met at Constantinople in June 1873, with Dr 
Schauffleur as chairman.^ To the deep regret of the board 

^ The saintly and genial Goodell died in 1867. 

2 The board consisted of Dr Elias Riggs and the Rev. G. F. Herrick, 
missionaries of the American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions, and the 


Dr Schauffleur, who still believed a unification of versions 
to be impossible, resigned after five months' collaboration, 
but his MSS. of the Pentateuch and Isaiah were added to 
the store of materials on which they laboured.^ It was the 
New Testament of this version which, as we have seen, the 
Turkish authorities refused to sanction in 1874, and which 
occasioned the effective interposition of Lord Derby. 

In the quiet pf the Bible House at Stamboul the committee 
pursued their task in the midst of insurrection, massacre, 
and revolution. The Sultan Abdul-Aziz was deposed and 
murdered ; in three months his successor Murad was plucked 
from his throne ; then the Russians poured across the Danube, 
and the Biblemen of three agencies were involved in the 
scenes of strife described in the last chapter. The little 
company pressed on without interruption ; a second edition 
of the New Testament was issued in time to be sent to Russia 
for the Turkish prisoners ; and at length, on the 25th May 
1878, the last words of the version were penned, and the 
committee " united in a prayer of thanksgiving and con- 
secration, to which our Turkish helpers responded with 
an audible 'Amen.'" The printing of the Old Testament 
was finished in December, and the Osmanli Bible appeared 
simultaneously in Arabic and Armenian character, with the 
welcome imprimatur of the Porte. Incredible as it may seem, 
the Government, in authorising these editions, insisted on 
the title-page bearing the legend : — " Printed and published 
with the royal permission of the Department of Public 

Rev. Robert Weakley, of the Church Missionary Society, Smyrna, assisted by Pastor 
Avedis Constantian of Marash and two Turkish scholars, one of whom was led to 
Christ through this work. Dr Pratt, who was engaged on the revision of the Old 
Testament, and whose services on the committee would have been invaluable, died 
in 1872. 

^ Dr SchaufHeur, who was in failing health, withdrew to Briinn, the capital of 
Moravia. His Pentateuch and Isaiah were printed at Vienna in 1877. The rest of 
his Old Testament, completed too late to be of use to the committee, was deposited 
in the strong-room of the New York Bible House as the joint property of the two 
Societies. The gifted scholar, who had been enrolled as an Hon. Life Governor in 
1874, died at New York in 1883, at the age of eighty-five, 


But even this admirable version had not quite struck 
the happy mean of purity, grace, and simplicity. When a 
demand arose for a fresh recension of the Grceco-Turkish 
Bible, which had been revised in 1854-56 by Mr Con- 
stantinides Philadelpheus, and in 1866-71 had been brought 
by Dr Riggs into close conformity with Goodell's Armeno- 
Turkish, the diction of the Osmanli Bible was deemed too 
cultured and difficult for the Greeks of Asia Minor, and yet 
another revision — which practically amounted to a new 
translation — was begun in 1881. 

The war with Russia left Turkey a disastrous heritage 
of insurrection and lawlessness. The people were racked 
with poverty and taxation. The country was overrun with 
brigands. In Thessaly even the school children were way- 
laid and held to ransom, and the fate of Clement Sosnovski 
of Uskup proved how serious were the risks to which the 
colporteur was exposed. In 1880 he crossed the mountains 
into the disturbed districts held by the Albanian League ; 
was seen at Prisrend by the Austrian Consul, and advised 
to go back ; hired horses for his return with his boxes of 
books, set out for Uskup on the 2nd September, and — 
whether shot by the League as a spy, murdered for his poor 
belongings, or otherwise done to death — disappeared for ever. 

Little Bible -work was possible in Thessaly in such 
circumstances. Zabanski, in failing health, held the depot 
until 1880, when a joint arrangement was made with the 
American Mission to the Greeks. In the following year the 
province was ceded to Greece, and was included in the 
colportage system of Athens. Tried men from other parts 
of the agency were assigned to the difficult work in Albania. 
The New Testament in Tosk and Greek — a revision by 
Christophorides of the first Albanian diglot — was published 
in 1879 with the imprimatur of the Ministry of Education ; 
Genesis and Exodus followed in i88o ; and in 1881 a new 


depot was opened at Janina conjointly with the American 
Presbyterian Mission. In the three years 1879-81, 3586 
copies were put into circulation. Suddenly the Government 
excluded from Albania the diglots which bore the imprint 
of its own direct sanction. It was a return to the old policy 
of violated pledges and terrorism. The Society's books 
were seized ; its men arrested, sent long journeys under 
guard, and condemned to prison in default of finding sureties. 
In Macedonia the abuse of power was still more flagrant, and 
even the British Ambassador failed to obtain satisfaction. 
No attempt was made to disguise the motive of hostility : 
" You sell Christian books in the Turkish language and in 
Arabic characters. If we allow this to go on, the days of 
Islam are numbered." So intense were the suspicion and 
hatred of all books, that a Bulgarian in Uskup, who had 
obtained publications through the post, was sentenced to 
prison and fined over £'^0. 

At last we come to a more cheering picture. North of 
the Balkans Bulgaria emerges as an autonomous Principality. 
On the withdrawal of the Russian troops the management of 
Bible affairs passes from the Austrian to the Turkish Agency. 
Three colporteurs are at work — Griineberg among his people, 
the Jews, in the east ; Heringer in the central districts, where 
the Scriptures are read in most of the schools ; Klundt in the 
ruder and more superstitious west. For over eleven years 
Krzossa has been depositary at Rustchuk. The depot is 
no longer "the Protestant book-shop." It is "the Bible 
Magazine." The peasants, who used to shun it, come gladly 
now to buy New Testaments for their children ; and as these 
school - books are in the ancient Sclavic, many take the 
Bulgarian Testament as well. During the war, when numbers 
of people were arrested on suspicion, Krzossa and his men 
exerted themselves successfully on their behalf, and these 
good ofiices are not forgotten now. Thanks to the repre- 
sentations of the German Consulate, the Scriptures are 


admitted duty free into the Principality, and on one occEision 
might have been seen the interesting contrast of boxes of 
Bibles not taxed and tariff paid on eight waggons of eikons 
and church ornaments from Russia. At its annual meeting 
at Philippopolis in 1881 the Bulgarian Evangelical Society 
votes an expression of its " deep gratitude to the Bible 
Society for the great good it has done and is doing to our 
nation." At almost every place, it notes, "where the Word 
of God was burned some ten years ago, there is now a 
preacher of that Word, and people to hear it." During 
1879-83 upwards of 33,300 copies of Scripture were sold. 
All this notwithstanding, the period closes with a sharp 
reminder of the uncertainty of to-morrow. Fortune gives 
the wheel of statecraft a sudden turn. Foreign books and 
foreign mission-work fall under the suspicion of the Govern- 
ment. Repressive measures are taken ; the colporteurs are 
hooted in the streets, and fanatics threaten to burn all the 
houses of Protestants. 

The most striking feature of this time, however, was 
the visible quickening of religious thought in the capital of 
the empire. In the concourse of races and nationalities 
which crowded and coloured the streets and bazaars of 
Constantinople, it was the Turks who were most ready to 
listen and to buy, to protect the colporteur from insult, to 
rebuke the Greek or Armenian for destroying his own sacred 
writings. The annual circulation in Stamboul increased 
between 1879 and 1883 from 3340 to 6720 copies; and in 
the latter year seventeen men were more or less regularly 
employed in selling the Scriptures, and the first Biblewoman 
— Fatima, the widow of an old colporteur — was spreading the 
knowledge of the Gospel among her own sex.^ 

The issues of the Osmanli version had now so nearly 

^ Invited to the house of some women from her native place in Cappadocia, she 
was treacherously given in charge as a renegade ; but on seeing the books and 
learning that she and her husband had sold them for years with the permission of the 
authorities, the police-officer was moved to let her go. 


run out that in 1883 the Societies applied through the 
Embassies for sanction to print larger editions. The 
Government stipulated that the words ' ' For Protestants 
only " should appear on the cover and title-page, but with 
such a condition it was impossible for the Societies to 
comply. At this juncture the plans for making Egypt and 
Syria an independent agency were in progress, and Mr J. 
Bevan Braithwaite and the Secretary, Mr Reed, were in 
Constantinople. They waited on the Minister of Education, 
and succeeded in having the condition withdrawn. The 
permit was granted, and a revision of the Osmanli Bible 
was begun with a view to simplification of style. 

In the early sixties the great tracts of Asia Minor, 
formerly covered by correspondence with the American 
missions, were included in the expansion of the American 
Bible Society. The depot, however, was maintained at 
Smyrna, and supplied whatever Scriptures were required ; 
and when the Church Missionary Society's work at Con- 
stantinople was suppressed in 1864, the Rev. Robert 
Weakley joined his colleagues there — the Revs. J. T. and 
T. Wolters, father and son, — and for a number of years 
Bible tours were regularly made into the interior. Under 
the supervision of the Rev. T. Spence of the Church of 
Scotland Mission, Pilo, a Spanish Jew, began colportage 
in 1869 in the islands clustered along the old Ionian 
shores. In the following year Mr Davidson left Albania 
to labour in Crete, and all the crinkled coast from the 
Dardanelles to Adalia, where St Paul took ship, was 
divided, north and south from Smyrna, between Darom 
and the physician Misaelides. Everywhere on this new 
ground one saw, as in a mirror, the things that were then 
taking place in Turkey. One saw, too, out of the past 
dim shadow-pictures of the first Christian missions — now 
the oxen and garlands brought for sacrifice ; now the stones 


of the mob, and the apostle dragged out of the city like one 

For four years Mr Davidson spent himself on Crete. In 
the summer of 1873 he caught pleurisy while crossing the 
snowy mountains, returned hbme in consumption, and 
died in Edinburgh in 1874 at the age of thirty-eight. For 
all his arduous journeys, only 1400 copies were distributed 
among a population of 150,000, chiefly belonging to the 
Greek Church. Down to the revolutionary risings which 
followed the war with Russia the number but little exceeded 
2000. Still the work was not without visible fruit. A colony 
of Spanish Jews, visited first by a missionary eighteen years 
before, were moved in 1879 to confess the Saviour, and 
wrote to Dr Thomson as to the course they should follow. 
Colporteur Klonares was violently expelled in 1880 by the 
collusion of the Metropolitan and the civil authorities, but 
others took his place up to the end of the period. During 
the fourteen years the total circulation in Crete scarcely 
reached 5700 copies. 

Mitylene presented a wonderful contrast, when once the 
hostility of the Archbishop had been checked by an order 
from the Government. The Lesbians believed in visions 
of the Panagia and holy-well cures ; at one place they 
revered some old classic faun or satyr in black marble 
as an image of Michael the Archangel ; a miraculous 
picture of St Barbara was let out for a good round sum 
by the church at Pavla when the neighbouring villages 
were stricken with epidemic ; but they were a kindly people, 
and eager to receive the Gospel. They brought Pilo raisins 
and oranges, and invited him to their board. Men and 
women came from distant villages inquiring for the daskalos. 
When he spoke of leaving, prayers were offered for snow 
or rain to stay him ; and when he did set out, the chief 
inhabitants took him long distances on his way. The work 
was greatly aided by the schoolmasters and a number of 


the priests ; and in several of the schools the Scriptures 
were introduced through the sheer insistence of the head 
teachers. In three years between 8000 and 9000 copies 
were sold — some few perhaps to be used as amulets ; and 
to the end of the period the Lesbian Isle was the brightest 
spot in those Ottoman possessions. 

From time to time Samos was visited, and Tenedos 
and Kalymnos ; Lemnos, where Pilo narrowly escaped an 
attempt on his life ; Thasos and Cos ; Rhodes, in whose 
Knight-rider Street Mr Leeves noticed the old coats of arms 
on the houses in 1845 ; Imbros, Samothrace, and Scarpanto ; 
Chios, among whose people nearly 1800 Testaments and 
Portions were distributed, and gladly received, after the 
terrible earthquake of 1881 ; and Cyprus, "polluted of old 
by the worship of Venus, and hallowed by the teaching of 
Barnabas and Paul." 

Welcomed as friends at one time, reviled at another as 
Atheists, Freemasons, Enemies of the pictures (Eikono- 
machoi). Disturbers of peace, the colporteurs on the main- 
land pursued their calling in towns and villages whose 
modern names hide as often as they recall the tale of places 
of old renown. After nine years' service Darom joined the 
Scottish Mission to the Jews in 1880, and was succeeded by 
Moschobakes, sometime a Government official in Patmos, 
who had been led to the Truth by Misaelides. In 1883 
Misaelides himself was appointed depositary in Smyrna. 
Between 1870 and 1884, 51,188 copies of the Scripture 
were scattered abroad in the islands and along this coast. 

Readers will recollect the early work among the " Bible- 
readers " round Ismid (Nicomedia). In 1854 the Committee 
received from Ada-bazar a letter of affection and thankful- 
ness, signed by twelve pastors and elders of the Evangelical 
Armenian Churches. Twenty years later Pastor Djejizian 
of Ada-bazar wrote asking that a colporteur should be sent 
into his forgotten district. So work was taken up along the 


southern seaboard of the Euxine, as far east as Kastamuni. 
Once indeed the coast was skirted to Sinope (the birthplace 
of the Philosopher of the Tub), Samsun, and Trebizond. 
At Zafaranboli was found a congregation of Turkish- 
speaking Greeks, whose Christian life had been built upon 
the Grseco - Turkish Scriptures. Eight hundred families 
there were, with only a native teacher, and save for the old 
people and the little children, all but two or three were 
readers. Between 4000 and 5000 copies in all were dis- 
tributed in this wild country, where swollen rivers stayed 
the traveller for days, and the few roads were watched by 
brigands. In the last years of the period progress was 
noticeable especially among the Turks, " rich men and 
officers in the army, as well as soldiers and common 

On the cession of Cyprus to Britain in 1878, Mr Jacob 
Back, formerly a merchant in Stamboul, was appointed 
sub-agent. A depot was opened at Larnaca ; Sir Garnet 
Wolseley obtained the admission of the Scriptures duty- 
free ; and a letter of recommendation was given by Arch- 
bishop Sophronius, who was independent of the Greek 
Patriarch. The population was estimated at 220,000, of 
whom 165,000 were Greek Christians and the rest Moham- 
medans,^ but the number of readers did not exceed two in 
the hundred. Education was under way, and the Scriptures 
were introduced into the schools, though difficulties were 
raised by teachers who had brought from Athens their 
prejudice against the Modern Greek version. The Lino- 
bambaki were visited. In the high Tylirian mountain 
village in which their ancestors found refuge, they had 
fallen into semi-savagery ; on the plains they were like 
their neighbours, and had an excellent school. Now that 

' The Moslems included about 10,000 people, descendants of Christians forced at 
the times of the Turkish conquest to profess Islam. While openly conforming, they 
baptized their children in secret, and so came to be known as Linobambaki, " Linen- 


they were safe under the British colours, many joined the 
Greek Church. 

When Mr Back left the Island in 1882 he had circulated 
over 10,000 copies — twice as many books as there were 
readers. He was succeeded by Mr James Storey. The 
work was extended among the Moslems at Nicosia ; the 
Gospels and Proverbs were bought for use in the Turkish 
schools ; the Scriptures were on sale at Famagosta and 
Limasol ; and a Biblewoman, one of six connected with the 
British Syrian Mission, found a welcome among her sisters 
of the harem. At the close of the period 14,000 copies of 
the Word of God had been placed in the hands of the 

In 1863 "the homeliest and most modest court in 
Europe" gave England a future queen and the Hellenes 
a youthful sovereign ; and in the following March King 
George accepted in private audience a handsome Bible in 
Modern Greek which Dr Thomson presented on behalf of 
the Society. The gracious incident was, unhappily, of no 
more than personal interest. Education had yet done little 
to rouse the people from their indifference ; the more eager 
spirits of the time sought for a revival of national greatness 
in the dreams of "Hellenism"; the Orthodox Church, 
which viewed with dismay the results of even the precarious 
freedom granted in Turkey, jealously resisted every move- 
ment which seemed to reflect on its supremacy. The people 
were warned against the Scriptures in the only language 
they understood. To the outspoken disapproval of many 
in the public press, even the poor wretches who lay in 
prison, unclassified, without employment or instruction, were 
denied the benefit of the Word of God by the ecclesiastical 
and civil authorities. 

Besides the headquarters at Athens, there were depots 
at Corfu and Kalamata on the south coast of the Morea, 


and a small stock of Scriptures was held by the Church 
Missionary Society in the island of Syra. From i860 to 1866 
the circulation fluctuated between 1200 and 1400 copies; but 
the free grants to schools had ceased, and the sales, small 
as they were, betokened a growing interest in sacred things. 
In 1866 Dr Kalopothakes passed into the service of the 
American Bible Society, and Mr Dewar, who had been 
selected for pioneer work in Thessaly, became his successor. 
In four years he and his assistant, Mr Koulouriotis, an 
Albanian, travelled far and wide over a land once shining 
in heroic annals and enchanted song, now so sunk in 
ignorance and superstition that even ' ' to take up the cross 
and follow Christ " had only one meaning for the people — 
to carry a cross in procession through the streets. Mr 
Dewar joined the American and Foreign Christian Mission 
in 1870,^ and his work was taken up by Mr Koulouriotis. 
More than once the arbitrary interference of Greek prelates 
had been stopped by Government telegrams ; it was reserved 
for Greek officials, in the islands spontaneously ceded by 
England ten years before, to commit the most flagrant 
violation of the law. In 1872 Mr Koulouriotis was arrested 
at Corfu, his Scriptures were declared prohibited by the 
Holy Synod, and his sales forbidden. On his insisting on 
his rights as a Greek citizen, the police virtually appealed 
to the mob. His books were destroyed, and he himself 
escaped with difficulty to the protection of the Vice-consul. 
All attempts to obtain redress from the Government and the 
law courts were defeated by the influence of the Church. 

But from this point there were signs of distinct progress. 
First two and then four colporteurs took the field. In the 
south-eastern districts of the Morea the Scriptures were 
introduced into the schools despite the opposition of the 
bishop. The British and American depots at Athens were 
united beneath one roof in 1874, under the general supervision 

' His widow became a Biblewoman at Athens in the last years of the period. 


of Dr Kalopothakes ; and in 1876, for the sake of saving 
time, labour, and expense, it was arranged that Continental 
Greece and the Cyclades on one side, and the Ionian Islands 
and the Morea on the other, should be worked year about by 
the colporteurs of each Society. 

These signs of progress were not lost on the ecclesiastical 
authorities, and when the spiritual change produced by the 
spread of evangelical truth took such concrete form as the 
organisation of a Greek Protestant Church at Athens, the 
Holy Synod decided that strong measures should be used to 
put a stop to the circulation of the Scriptures. It condemned 
in a public circular the editions published by the Society, 
whether in Ancient or in Modern Greek. The Ministry of 
Education peremptorily forbade their sale. This order was 
shown to be illegal and was withdrawn ; but the Scriptures 
were excluded from the national schools, and the people were 
warned against buying them. 

In these circumstances the Societies gladly adopted a 
course which, it was hoped, might lead to a better under- 
standing and to friendly co-operation. Conscious of the 
imperfection of all translations, they offered to bear the 
expense of a revision of the Modern Greek version made 
in collaboration with the Holy Synod itself. Unfortun- 
ately nothing came of these overtures. Some inattention to 
formalities, it was said, precluded their presentation to the 
august court ; a more probable explanation of their failure 
was the sensitive dread lest the dignity of the Holy Synod 
should be compromised by proposals which did not leave the 
choice of revisers wholly in its hands. 

The Greek press strongly remonstrated against these 
displays of religious intolerance, threw its weight on the 
side of vernacular translations, and ably defended the 
Society's version. In 1880 Makrakes and his party — the 
leader, whatever his limitations, a firm believer in the 
authority of the Scriptures — shamed the Holy Synod and 


the Government into making the New Testament in the 
original Greek a text -book in all the schools of the 
kingdom ; and eventually the Holy Synod, which had at 
first withheld its sanction, affixed its seal to the edition 
prepared for the purpose by the Society. But for the 
Modern Greek version, the work of the first scholars of the 
country, and the only form in which the Bible could be 
understood by the bulk of the population, neither ecclesi- 
astical nor official recognition could be obtained. Its 
language, which was the language of the University, the 
Law Courts, and the Legislature, was condemned by the 
"Hellenists" as an intolerable patois, and the purpose of 
the Holy Synod was well served by their enthusiasm for 
a classic revival. 

In face of the hostility provoked by these manifestoes — 
threatened, abused, beaten, and expelled ; but occasionally 
befriended, encouraged by some good teacher, priest, or 
monk; protected by a just demarch ; in one instance recom- 
mended by a bishop who acknowledged that he had been 
misled in regard to their books — the colporteurs travelled 
fearlessly and patiently through Greece and the Islands. In 
the last five years of the period they distributed 20,650 
copies of Scripture. It was less than the circulation along 
the coast of Asia Minor and the Turkish Islands (20,779), 
and a good deal less than the circulation in the Turkish 
capital alone (25,230), but it was some 40 per cent, of the entire 
circulation in Greece from 1861 (about 51,000 copies). The 
kingdom of the Hellenes, however, was but a small portion 
of the greater Greece in which the Word of God was circulated. 

We briefly note at this point the chief figures connected 
with the work of the Turkish Agency. During the thirty 
years ;^i55,i68 was expended on its operations — ;^63,324 
in the first, and ;;^9i,844 in the second half of the period. 
Of this amount colportage absorbed ;^6i9o in the first half, 


and ^31,069 in the second. The receipts in the first fifteen 
years amounted to ;^i3,026 ; in the second fifteen, to 
;€'32,7o5— a total of £45,73^- 

Upwards of 903,000 copies of Scripture were circulated 
— 322,500 up to 1869, and 581,000 from 1869 to 1884. 
From i860 onward the principal language groups were : — 
Greek (including Grseco - Turkish and Albanian), 262,700 
copies circulated ; Bulgarian (including Sclavic), 107,482 ; 
Jewish (including Hebrew, Judaeo - German, and Judaeo- 
Spanish, in which last the revised New Testament was 
published in 1878), 69,000; Armenian (including Armeno- 
Turkish and Kurd), 56,600; and Turkish, 32,537.1 

Dr Thomson was in the twenty-fourth year of his agency ; 

and his colleague, Mr William Sellar, who entered the service 

of the Society as colporteur in the Crimean war, had been 

depositary since 1856. 

' These agency figures include the work in Egypt, Palestine, and Syria, described 
in the following chapter. 



With the development of steam traffic, and finally with 
the opening of the Suez Canal, Malta gradually ceased in 
the sixties to be "the crowded 'change and glittering sea- 
mart " at the crossways of three continents ; and its decline 
as a Bible centre for Africa and the East was hastened by 
the rise of the great agencies. Still there was a lively 
influx of travellers and tourists, and the flags of many 
nations fluttered in its picturesque harbour. The Maltese 
watermen asked double and treble fare for the carriage of 
"heretical books," but good friends provided a boat, and 
a volunteer Bibleman was able to do his work without 
expense. Most welcome to him in this gathering of foreign 
ships was the sight of Russian war-vessels. On one frigate 
alone 1045 New Testaments ' and Portions were bought 
between 1861 and 1867, at a cost of £32. Some Moorish 
craft at times brought over Jew pedlars from Tripoli, 
who took back, with their English cottons and hardware, 
60Q or 700 copies of Hebrew Scriptures. These were 
merchandise for the yearly caravan which crossed the black 
basalt hills into Fezzan and passed south to the Sahara, 
exchanging the Word of God for ostrich feathers and raw 
silk, ivory and gold-dust, cochineal and precious stones. 
No Christian missionary had ever reached the Children of 
Israel scattered here along the confines of the Desert. 

Among the Maltese the spread of the Gospel seemed 
a thing past hope. On the appearance of a Waldensian 


[1854-1884] SCRIPTURES IN MALTESE 245 

colporteur in 1866 the priests raised such a storm of fanati- 
cism that, to prevent bloodshed, the sale of the Scriptures 
and religious books in the streets was prohibited. And yet 
in the secret places of the heart, who can say what spiritual 
miracles may have been wrought? In the public sale-rooms, 
which so often contain curious and touching revelations of 
family life, it was observed that many volumes published by 
the Society had been owned — read and preserved apparently 
for years — by lawyers and doctors, magistrates and gentle- 
men of position, who had learned, perchance, a truer faith 
than they dared profess. 

The circulation of the depot steadily fell from 13,950 in 
1861 to a little over 1700 in 1868; and two years later 
effect was given to a new arrangement, which had long 
been inevitable.^ Syria, the Holy Land, and Egypt were 
added, as we have noted, to the Constantinople Agency. 
Malta and North Africa still remained in connection with 
Italy. Provision was made for the islanders and the 
English residents and garrison by transferring part of the 
stock to Mr Watson, a book-seller in Valetta ; and Mr 
Kirby, who had served the Society in Malta for over 
twenty years, was appointed sub-agent for Egypt under 
Dr Thomson. 

The last incidents in the story of the Malta Agency 
were the collection of j^ig for the Spanish Fund, and the 
publication of 1000 copies of St Matthew in Maltese, the 
cost of which was subscribed by English workmen out of 
their weekly earnings in the Valetta dockyards. The Acts 
followed ; and 1000 copies of St John — a revision of the 
translation obtained by the Rev. W. Jowett, one of the first 
Malta secretaries — appeared in 1872. 

Disappointing as the work in the island had been, a 
striking change had taken place among the people. These 

^ The total issues from the union with Italy to the end of 1870 numbered 66,000 
copies, but only a portion of these were circulated in the island. 


books did not rekindle the fierce hatred which blazed out 
when the Maltese Testament was published by the Society 
for Promoting Christian Knowledge in 1847.^ The Scrip- 
tures, once kept from public view, were now displayed for 
sale in the old Treasury of the Knights of St John, in 
one of the best streets in Valetta. Besides the military 
churches there were Episcopalian and Presbyterian places of 
worship — in curious contrast with the time when Protestants 
met for divine service in a private house, with a soldier or 
a policeman guarding the door. The burial of a Protest- 
ant was once regarded "as that of a dog"; now, wrote 
Mr Kirby, "we often see respectable Maltese uncovering as 
a funeral cortege passes, and you may even hear them say 
in reference to some consistent Protestant, 'There goes a 
good man ! ' or ' If he is lost, who can hope to be saved?'" 
The position of Protestantism in Malta had all along been 
an anomaly. There, as elsewhere, British statesmen, quixoti- 
cally magnanimous, exaggerated their respect for the liberty 
justly granted to another religion by the repression of their 
own ; and it was not strange that those whose freedom as 
Englishmen in an English possession was overridden by 
the insolence of a bigoted clergy and curtailed in deference 
to a superstitious populace, should have almost wished to 
see the Italian colours flying from the halyards of Britain. 
Under their folds at least a colporteur would have been 
free to traverse the island, protected in his lawful calling 
against the brutality of a rabble hounded on by ecclesiastics 
scarcely less ignorant than themselves. 

From 1875 to 1878 free contributions amounting to £52 
were sent from friends in the island to the Bible House, 
and in the latter year some hundreds of Eastern Scriptures 
were distributed among the Indian troops brought to Malta. 
But the annual circulation dropped hopelessly, until in 1879 

^ On the death of the translator interment in the Romish cemeteries was refused ; 
the drawbridge at Porta Reale had to be drawn up against the furious populace, and 
the guard turned out to save the dead from outrage. 


only 43 copies were issued. Mr J. May, of the Soldiers 
and Sailors Institute, was placed in charge of the stock 
in 1880 ; a depot was opened, and the sales rose to some 
300 copies, but only to fall away again. Stones were flung 
through the depot windows, his street-lamp was twice 
broken, and torn tracts were thrown inside his door ; still 
it seemed to him that "a good number" of Maltese would 
have welcomed instruction, but that they feared persecution 
and the loss of employment if they changed their creed. 

During the thirteen years (1871-83) 1497 copies of 
Scripture were sold in the island, though few of these 
went to the Maltese; the population numbered 150,000, 
with a priest to every hundred ; and henceforth the only 
chance of brighter days in Malta seemed to lie in the 
spread of the English or the Italian language through the 
schools to the people. 

At Tunis and Constantine, Oran and Algiers, the work 
of distribution was continued by the little band of the Jewish 
Mission — Lowitz and Benoliel, Ginsburg, Fenner, and the 
rest. The Scriptures were carried from town to town by Jew 
pedlars. From the colporteur's tent, pitched on Moslem 
ground at the great fairs of Algiers, they were sold amid 
the motley throng of bare-legged Arabs in white burnouses, 
French sailors, Beni M'zab in coats of many colours, stalwart 
negroes from the Soudan, Zouaves and Turcos in smart uni- 
forms, Moors in embroidered jackets, full trousers, and white 
stockings, dark-turbaned Israelites, Spaniards and Maltese, 
while now and again priests examined the books with looks 
of indignation. Mr Ginsburg presented them to friendly 
sheiks on his journeys through the Tunisian desert ; and at 
Kerouan (Kirwan) the Holy, within whose walls neither 
Christian nor Jew was suffered to reside, an Arabic Bible 
was accepted by the Governor. 

When the Arab tribes revolted in 1864 M. Pressense 


stationed a French colporteur at Algiers, a depot was opened, 
Testaments and Gospels were distributed among the French 
troops, and the hospitals were visited. In 1868 the Rev. 
A. Benoliel was drawn to the colonies of his countrymen 
along the shores of Morocco. He spent several weeks at 
Casa Blanca, Rabat, Sallee,^ Tangier, and Tetuan with 
his brother Moses, who accompanied him as colporteur, 
and who served the Society in that capacity for the next 
nine years. 

Tripoli was thrown into a ferment by a visit from Mr 
Fenner in 1869. Little could be done in face of the hostility 
of Mohammedan muftis, Jewish rabbis, and Roman Catholic 
priests, but the Gospel was preached on many occasions, and 
the missionary left Arabic Bibles with the kaids, who gave 
him hospitality. Returning along the eastern coast of Tunis 
he disposed of a number of books, and the Word of God was 
accepted with delight by the vice-admiral and the captain 
of the Bey's frigate. 

A large and unexpected distribution took place at the 
close of the Franco-German war. Many hundreds of Bibles, 
Testaments, and Portions were brought back from Germany 
by the prisoners of war ; and great quantities of the books 
scattered over Spain by zealous but oftentimes unadvised 
persons were collected and brought as merchandise by traders 
to the African ports. So in remote places, and among 
unknown people, the strife and the thoughtlessness of men 
may have been turned to high issues by God's Providence. 

At rare intervals only do we learn anything of the actual 
details of this North African work. In the summer of 1873 
we get the first glimpse of the date-palms of Djerba, the 
Homeric isle of "the lotus-eating men." Centuries before 
the destruction of the second temple, a Hebrew colony settled 
there, and it was to their descendants that the missionaries 

^ The hornets'-nest of the " Sallee rovers.'' As late as the middle of the eighteenth 
century they would lie under Lundy Island to cut out British merchantmen. 





took the message of the Gospel. For eight days, however, 
scores of intelligent and influential Roman Catholics, who 
"could no longer accept the dogmas made by an infallible 
Pope," came in the evening to question them on the doctrines 
of Protestantism. 

In 1878 Mr Ginsburg attempted to settle at Mogador on 
the west coast of Morocco. The "wonderful book" was 
presented to the Sultan (who sent to inquire as to the "new 
creed"), to his brother, and to the Pasha of the capital, 
but before many copies of the Scriptures were sold, the 
missionary was driven from the city by persecution. 

For over twenty years that North Africa formed part of 
the Italian Agency, Oran and Algiers were the chief centres 
of distribution ; and apart from the supplies voted for the 
French columns engaged in suppressing tribal revolts, 
nearly 50,000 copies of Scripture were put into circulation 
on behalf of the Society. But as in addition to these the 
Jewish Missions and other friends took a generous part in 
promoting the work, there are no means of discovering the 
actual extent to which the Word of God was spread abroad. 

The time came at length for the Society to bring within 
its organised system the half-heathen Lands of the Sun, 
once consecrated with the blood of the Christian Church, 
and still illumined by memories of Cyprian and Tertullian, 
Monica and Augustine. At the close of 1881 the Rev. J. 
Lowitz, for thirty years in the service of the British Jews' 
Society, was appointed to the agency of North Africa, which 
included Tripoli, Tunis, and Algiers. The French Protest- 
ant Churches in conference expressed their satisfaction and 
thankfulness in a formal resolution. At Oran Mr Moses 
Benoliel resumed his connection with the Society. A French 
colporteur was engaged for the province of Constantine, an 
Italian for Tunis. Mr J. May, a French namesake of the 
depositary at Malta, joined the staff at Algiers, and his wife 
was placed in charge of the depot, which had been opened 


on the urgent representation of Miss Beamish.^ In 1883 a 
local committee was formed in the capital, and as the period 
closed, Bible-work entered on a new era along the southern 
shores of the Mediterranean. 

On his return to England after a journey among the 
Kabyles in the wooded hills of the Djur-djura in 1881, 
Mr George Pearse published a stirring appeal, which resulted 
in the formation of the Mission to the Kabyles, afterwards 
better known as the North Africa Mission. He obtained 
a translation of the first seven chapters of St Matthew in 
Kabyli or Berber ; ^ Mr Robert Needham Cust, a gifted 
member of the Committee, visited Algeria in the hope of 
finding a Kabyle scholar to undertake a version of the 
New Testament; and in 1883 Dr Sauerwein, one of the 
most versatile of the Society's linguists, was sent to study 
on the spot that remarkable unwritten language which is 
exclusively spoken in the Djur-Djura and among the Chawia 
of the Aures Mountains, prevails with various local differ- 
ences over two-thirds of Morocco, and spreads through 
the Sahara almost to the Senegal.* He brought back with 
him a translation of St John, made by an Arab who had 
assisted Pere Olivier with his French-Kabyle Dictionary.* 

These matters were still in progress when the Committee 
found in Mr William Mackintosh the very man they needed 
for the exploration of the little known empire of Morocco. 
After volunteer experience in Egypt and a number of years' 
service in the Syrian Christian schools, he had returned in 
ill-health from Damascus, but the change to his native Scotch 

^ This devoted lady, who was specially interested in the distribution of the 
Scriptures among the pilgrims to Jerusalem, died at Algiers of diphtheria, 29th 
December 1882, a week after Lady Sebright's little daughter, whom she had been 

^ The Committee were prepared to print the whole Gospel under the supervision 
of Francis William Newman, younger brother of Cardinal Newman, but he found 
the translation so faulty that the work was stopped. 

* Playfair, Algeria and Tunis, p. 12. 

■* As early as 1833 twelve chapters of the Gospel of St Luke in Lesser Kabyli 
(Berber) was printed by the Society. — Vol. ii. p. 27. 


air restored him. He readied Tangier, and made several 
journeys inland. The country was more accessible, the 
people were more friendly than he had expected, and in a 
few months his perfect mastery of Arabic enabled him to 
venture on a translation of some chapters of St Matthew in 
the dialect of the Riff tribes. He was offered and accepted 
the agency of Morocco ; a depot was opened at Tangier ; 
one of his old Syrian scholars, Milham Shehadi, who, as 
interpreter to the British generals, had in the meanwhile 
been present at the battle of Tel-el-Kebir and the surrender 
of Arabi, joined him as colporteur ; and a long record of 
strange travels and deeply interesting Bible experiences 
began. At the same time, after three years' absence, Mr 
Ginsburg returned with a supply of Arabic Scriptures to his 
post at Mogador. 

Thus, in the sequence of a slow but ever hopeful 
development, the Society planted its North African Agencies 
just sixty years after its Scriptures first reached the oases of 
Bornou and the green plains of Fezzan.^ 

Events now take us back to Syria and Egypt at the date 
of their annexation to the Italian Agency. 

Before the close of i860 Van Dyck's Arabic transla- 
tion of the New Testament left the press ; and on the 23rd 
August 1864 that gifted scholar completed the task of sixteen 
laborious years. The Beyrout Bible, which was speedily 
adopted as the standard of all Protestant missionaries, was 
one of the great versions of the world ; for from the shores 
of Morocco and the Mohammedan villages in the depths of 
the Soudan to the swarming cities of China, Arabic was the 
speech of 120,000,000 people. 

The electrotyping of the version was, as we have seen, 
one of the leading incidents in the celebration of the 
jubilee of the American Bible Society in 1866. The London 

1 Vol. ii. p. 26. 


Committee had already been allowed to produce the Penta- 
teuch and the New Testament at the Beyrout Mission Press, 
but on this happy occasion duplicate plates of the whole 
Bible were generously placed at the service of the Society 
by its American sister, and 5000 copies were printed at the 
Clarendon Press in 1869. For the benefit of less educated 
readers electroplates of an edition with full vowel points 
were prepared for the Committee by Dr Van Dyck ; 6000 
Bibles and New Testaments appeared in 1871 ; and in 
recognition of the gift of 1866 a set of these plates was pre- 
sented to the American Bible Society. 

The illiteracy of the people was a more formidable obstruc- 
tion to Bible-work than even their inveterate superstition and 
turbulent fanaticism ; but year after year the advances of 
Christian education were slowly breaking through the dense 
ignorance of centuries. The devoted energy, the bright 
enthusiasm of Mrs Bowen Thompson kept the Committee in 
close touch with the British Syrian schools, which were begun 
after the shocking massacres of the Lebanon. Grants of 
Scriptures in Arabic, Greek and Turkish, French, German 
and English were constantly passing out from the Bible 
House, and grateful letters described a progress which 
extended far beyond the schools themselves. 

In 1867 nearly 3000 boys, girls, and women had learned 
or were learning to read the Scriptures. The year 1868 was 
one of notable enterprise. A school for the blind was opened 
at Beyrout, and the Committee printed Arabic Gospels, 
prepared by her brother-in-law, Mr Mentor Mott — St Mark 
at the Mission Press, St Matthew in England. A girls' 
school, with a small school for the blind, was started at 
Damascus. Another was founded at Zahleh, the largest 
village in Lebanon ; such a village — with its white houses 
among terraced vineyards, its green river, from a dark cleft 
in the mountain, flowing between rows of poplars through 
the glen — as showed what Syria might become under good 


government. For all its beauty the place was seething with 
fanaticism, but it was "a great door to the Kesrouan, the 
hot-bed of the Jesuits and the Maronites," among whom some 
of the Society's Bibles had found their way, and had not 
failed to produce their effect. Instruction was spreading 
among the harems ; native women in one quarter of Beyrout 
hired a room for themselves, and were visited daily by the 
teachers she sent. From Tyre came a petition that she 
should establish a school there ; the chief Druse prince in 
the Hauran pressed her to extend her work to the cities of 
Bashan ; but who, she asked, was " sufficient for these 
things " ? 

Her health failed in 1869. She left for England in the 
autumn. In a little more than five weeks — an interval lit 
up almost to the end by the conviction that it was God's 
will that she should return to her beloved Syrians — she was 
called to her rest. Her mission was continued by her sisters 
Mrs Mentor Mott and Mrs Henry Smith. The Society's 
sympathy and support were not wanting ; and in addition 
to the ordinary Scriptures, new Arabic portions for the 
blind, to be prepared by the Rev. Dr Lansing of Cairo, 
were undertaken by the Committee. 

A year or so later Mr Pritchett and Mr Mackintosh 
entered Kesrouan, the stronghold of the Maronites.^ The 
whole district was dotted with convents ; monks, priests, 
and Jesuits ruled supreme. They took no tent, but put 
up nightly at some village. Neighbours would drop in 
to see "the Englishmen " ; a Gospel would be shown them ; 

^ A singularly interesting Christian sect, whose history revealed the lengths to 
which Rome would concede in return for the acknowledgment of her supremacy. 
It originated during the Monothelite controversy of the seventh century, received its 
name from the monastery of the holy abbot Maro around which it found refuge in 
the Lebanon, and maintained its heretical doctrine down to the time of the Crusades. 
In the twelfth century it came in contact with the Church of Rome ; in the fifteenth 
it entered into formal union on large conditions of independence. It was allowed to 
retain its ancient liturgy, communion in both kinds, marriage of the clergy, and a 
form of Mass in which the consecrated elements were not "reserved" and the Gospels 
were read in Arabic, the tongue of the people. 


there would be talk of the crops, of the village, the church, 
the schools, of France, perhaps, and the German victories. 
Then upon some reference to the Bible, chapter would be 
read after chapter, and religious topics discussed round 
the log fire on the clay floor till far into the night. All 
would join in prayer before parting, and one and another 
ask for a Gospel. Sometimes the presence of a priest or 
two, who came and stayed to the end, prevented all Bible- 
work. Where the land belonged to the convents, as it did 
in many places, the peasant was a spiritual serf ; where the 
sheiks were owners, the priest had less power, and the Word 
of God was spoken of, passages from it were read, in his 
hearing. One sheik, indeed, who had been moved — he 
scarcely knew how — to purchase the Scriptures, was con- 
vinced that "the teaching of his Church was as far from 
Bible truth as his village was from Stamboul." 

It was not long before they came in contact with the 
violent fanaticism of the place. The Bishop sent a circular 
to every village in Kesrouan forbidding the people to speak 
to the strangers, but warning them to do no injury ; from 
the convent roofs monks watched their course, and whenever 
they were admitted to a house, a messenger brought an 
order from the priests that the Englishmen should be told 
to go on their way. But they had seen that the Maronite 
fastness was assailable, that almost everywhere there were a 
few people who would gladly hear and read the Word of 
God, and that the peasants were extremely desirous that 
their children should have the worldly advantage of educa- 
tion. The Christian schools on Lebanon had produced 
such an effect that even here and there in Kesrouan the 
priests had been compelled to open schools of their own. 

At Beyrout, the chief centre of the Society's operations 
in Syria, a colporteur was appointed in 1864, and travelled 
among the Lebanon mountains and along the shore of the 
Mediterranean ; another, stationed at Damascus, carried the 


Scriptures to the numberless sects in the villages of the 
great plateau, beneath the snowy bulk of Hermon, and 
among the folds of Anti-Lebanon, but a successor could 
not be found when he retired in 1869. 

When Syria and Palestine were transferred to the Turkish 
Agency at the close of 1870 Dr Thomson visited his new 
district. At Beyrout, the busy port of Damascus and the 
East, the Committee joined the American Bible Society in 
the occupation of new premises, in which, free from observa- 
tion, the townspeople, native traders, and travellers might 
obtain the Scriptures they required. An increased circula- 
tion proved the wisdom of the change. Employment was 
given to a blind old Bibleman, Abou Selim, connected with 
the Syrian schools. A colporteur, Risq Butros, was placed 
under the direction of the Rev. James Robertson, of the 
Church of Scotland Mission, who had long acted in the 
interests of the Society, and had himself made tours among 
the Jews in Upper Galilee. 

At one time in the coast towns, Sidon, Tyre, Acre, Haifa 
at the foot of Carmel, at another among the Galilean hills 
as far east as Nazareth, frequently in Lebanon, Butros 
travelled for five years in Syria. Messengers were sent 
into Kesrouan to warn the people against him. At Ghazir 
a priest attempted to fling his books into a stream, and 
hired porters to carry them outside the boundary of the 
district. As late as '79 the Maronites refused to give him 
a lodging or to sell him bread, and he had to trudge on 
till he found shelter with a Moslem. But it was a sign 
of progress that controversy was listened to where once it 
was not tolerated, and that in mixed villages the priests 
were expected "to defend their Churches against the Word 
of God." So serious had been the effect produced by 
mission - work, school - work, and the circulation of the 
Scriptures, that the Jesuits, finding they could not hold 
their ground merely by anathematising the pestilent books, 


undertook the publication of " a more correct Arabic version." 
The Bible in three volumes, printed at Beyrout, appeared 
between 1878 and 1882,1 ^^d helped to check the colporteur's 
sales, for Butros met with it "in pretty many places, adorned 
with pictures, in a larger type than ours, and offered at a 
lower price ; indeed the Psalms, offered at about 3d., are 
often given gratis." 

Colportage was resumed at Damascus in 1872, but here, 
as in so many other places where zeal outran judgment, 
Bible-work had been made almost impossible by people who 
were eager for its success. Writing of a colportage tour 
in the Hauran, one of the Irish Presbyterian missionaries 
— the Rev. William Wright, afterwards a brilliant member 
of the Bible House staff — made a vehement protest against 
that indiscriminate giving of the Scriptures, which exposed 
the books to contempt and the colporteur to suspicion as a 

A joint depot on the Beyrout plan was opened in the 
Moslem quarter of Damascus in 1874, but the results were 
so disappointing that it was discontinued two years later, 
and distribution was left to the Irish missionaries, who had 
always had a store of Scriptures at their disposal. Yet in 
that old - world city of Bible memories, that wonderful 
Eastern medley of brilliant colour and squalor, marble and 
sun-dried mud, bowered in fruit and forest trees among 
running waters, there was inscribed the assurance of ultimate 
success. Over a sculptured portal of the Great Mosque — 
a portal through which the Emperor Arcadius may have 
entered the church of "the blessed John the Baptist" — 
was still legible, after twelve hundred years of Mohammedan 
rule, the Greek legend: "Thy Kingdom, O Christ, is an 

' The translators were assisted by Ibrahim El-Yaziji, son of the scholar who 
worked with Dr Eli Smith on the Beyrout version. They followed the original 
Hebrew and Greek, but gave precedence to the Vulgate on points of faith and 


everlasting Kingdom, and Thy dominion endureth through- 
out all generations."^ 

From the first, Dr Thomson had strongly urged uniformity 
of prices and circulation by sale alone ; but many workers 
declared the system impracticable, and as late as 1881 he had 
still to express his regret that after more than twenty years 
of successful labour, the directors of the British Syrian 
schools seemed to have taken no steps to train their pupils 
to buy the Scriptures at however low a price. In this year 
590 copies were granted for use in thirty schools, numbering 
about three thousand pupils, and in Bible classes of Moslem, 
Druse, Jewish, and Christian women. It was decided, 
however, in 1882 to meet all educational requirements in 
Syria and Palestine by supplying the Scriptures at half 
the ordinary sale price — a figure considerably below half the 
cost of production, and the arrangement was received with 
general satisfaction. In the latter part of the period hopes 
of expansion were encouraged by the sales of Dr Martin 
of the Reformed Presbyterian Mission at Antioch, the 
Reformed Mission at Latakia, and a correspondent at 
Tarsus, but for a time colportage was suspended. Among 
the grants in these years may be mentioned a distribution 
of about 500 copies among the Ottoman troops embarking 
at Beyrout for the Russo-Turkish war, a consignment to 
the Archbishop Migherditch at Aintab, and small supplies 
to the Friends' Mission at Lebanon, Miss Tanner at Baalbec, 
and the blind Bibleman, Abou Selim. 

Many visitors — pashas and sheiks, effendis and merchants, 
Russian seamen and Turkish soldiers— called at the book-shop 
on Mount Zion. Several hundreds of copies, in as many as 

1 Ps cxlv. 13, with the addition of the words " O Christ." It is possible that on 
this site stood "the house of Rimmon" {2 Kings, v. 18) ; that the worship of Baal 
was superseded by the worship of Jupiter ; and that Arcadius built the church of 
St John the Baptist from the ruins of the superb temple of Jupiter destroyed by his 
father Theodosius {C. A.D. 390). The church was converted into a mosque by the 
Khalif Welid, who clove with his battle-axe the sacred image over the high altar. 
(A.D. 70s.) 




fifteen languages, were sold annually among the crowds of 
pilgrims who poured into the Holy City for several weeks 
before Easter ; but watchful priests flitted everywhere, warn- 
ing their countrymen, so that the number of books distributed 
was a mere fraction compared with the throngs of people. 
At the pilgrim port of Jaffa, where colportage was tried, 
the same hostile influence frustrated the effort, and even the 
stock of Scriptures which had been kept for some years in 
the place was at length given up. At Jerusalem in 1873 a 
depot was started in conjunction with the Church Missionary 
Society outside the busy Jaffa Gate, and placed in charge 
of the Rev. F. W. Klein, the discoverer of the Moabite 
Stone. A colporteur traversed the country from "the great 
sea" to Kerek in Moab and visited many a storied spot. In 
every direction he found bigotry, illiteracy, and evidences 
of the waste and abuse of gratuitous distribution. At 
Nablous the Hegoumen of a monastery told him he had 
"as many of those books as would load a camel" ; at Gaza 
the volumes scattered without thought were collected by the 
priest and burnt ; in one town he sold twelve copies, in 
another he sold but one. In 1877 colportage in Judaea was 
abandoned as useless. 

In response to Miss Beamish, who bore some part of the 
expense, special measures were afterwards taken on behalf of 
the Russian pilgrims — those poor, fervid, uncouth peasants, 
the dream of whose life was to see the sacred places. Years 
were spent in saving the treasure of ;^2 needed for the return 
voyage between Odessa and Jaffa ; they plodded for weeks, 
for months over the steppes, living on water and black bread, 
resting on the grass at some church or monastery, sleeping 
in the open air ; for ten days they were packed like cattle on 
the steamers. Death by the roadside in the Holy Land they 
reckoned the happiest fate that could befall them. Between 
1880 and 1883 about 27,000 copies of Scriptures were given 
away among these and the other pilgrims ; but through some 


misadventure the distribution did not take place in the last 
year of the period. ^ 

A small depot was opened by the Rev. S. MuUer at 
Bethlehem in 1876, and was fairly successful in spite of the 
anathemas of the Roman clergy, who by a strange irony 
were the proud possessors of the cell in which St Jerome 
toiled at his version. Finally, Nazareth became a bright 
centre of activity. Moslems and Greeks, Jews and Maronites, 
pilgrims and strangers from many lands were constantly 
passing through the little town of low, flat-roofed houses, 
huddled together in those days for safety on the hillside. 
The Church Missionary Society had been stationed there 
some time : the Society's books were scattered in the sur- 
rounding villages and used in the school and orphanage of 
the Female Education Society ; and in 1870, shortly after the 
establishment of the Edinburgh Medical Mission, a depot had 
been begun on the suggestion of Dr Vartan, who supervised 
the work of depositary and colporteur. But in the district 
about Nazareth only three or four in every hundred could read. 
In all this ancient land, where an inscribed stone preserved a 
script older than Homer, the people in/ point of literacy were 
far behind the South Sea Islanders or the Red Men of the 

Though some independent workVas done by the Associa- 
tion or local committee at Alexandria, the Society's operations 
in Egypt formed in the main an inseparable part of those of 
the American Mission. It furnished supplies of books, and 
contributed to the cost of Nile boats which enabled colportage 
in towns and villages and at the great fairs to extend from 
Damietta to the First Cataract at Assouan ; it had its share 
in the stirring of the Moslem spirit, in the awakening among 
the Coptic Christians in Fayoum, at Siout, and Koos, in the 

' Bishop Barclay, a Vice-President of the Society, who directed the arrangements 
for the distribution, died in October i88i, in the third year of his episcopate. 


progress of native churches and schools ; but there are no 
details to show the extent of its distributions or of its financial 

The Committee felt there was need for separate action 
on their own lines. In 1865, with a view to a regular 
agency, Mr Bruce obtained for a time the services of Mr 
Ostertag of the St Chrischona Mission, and some excellent 
work was done among the towns and villages of the Delta 
and as far south as the great market in the Fayoum. These 
St Chrischona men — the pioneers of that famous " Pilgrims' 
Way " of which we shall hear more in the next chapter — 
had founded stations at Cairo and Assouan, and, ascending 
the Cataracts, had settled at Khartoum and Metemma on 
the Abyssinian border. In 1867 a depot at Khartoum, 2000 
miles from the sea, was stocked from Malta. As few among 
the people could read, a school was opened for Coptic, 
Armenian, and Mohammedan children ; and there was a 
Bible class, attended by two Coptic priests and three Moslem 

What region in Africa was so inspiring as this ancient 
landofCush? Below the Fourth Cataract the waters of the 
Nile rolled past the pyramids, mounds, and fallen columns 
of the capital of Queen Candace. Thither the first tidings 
of Christ — the preaching of Philip — were brought by the 
first Ethiop Christian, the Eunuch " who was over all her 
treasure." When Gaul was still pagan " Ethiopia had its 
myriad churches ; and sandstone caves in the Nubian hills 
held Christian hermits when Druids were sacrificing in the 
oak glades of Britain."^ 

In 1869 the relations of the Society and the American 
Mission were drawn closer by the frustrated attempt of the 
Coptic Patriarch to engage the authorities in a violent 
suppression of Protestantism ; but after the arrival of Mr 
Kirby from Malta as sub-agent the question of separate work 

' Butler, The Campaign of the Cataracts, p. 62. 


was again mooted, and it was not until 1873 that co-operative 
action, by which rivalry and waste would be prevented, the 
most suitable men would be most readily obtained for 
colportage, and their duties supervised by the missionaries 
who selected them, was pronounced the course "most 
desirable in every way." The Committee accordingly com- 
bined with the Mission and the American Bible Society ; a 
fixed sum was contributed yearly towards the cost of the 
depots at Cairo, Siout, and Mansura, and half of the amount 
realised by sales was allowed for colportage. 

Meanwhile Mr Kirby had fitted up a depot opposite the 
British Consulate in Alexandria. At the outset a single 
colporteur was employed — principally in Alexandria and 
Cairo, but also in the Delta towns, and at Suez, Ismailia, 
and Port Said on the Suez Canal, which had been opened 
in 1869. The sense of responsibility in this new region 
was deepened by the purchase of the Khedive's Canal shares, 
and after some temporary expedients a regular colporteur 
was stationed at Port Said, to work among the thousands 
of vessels passing through from East and West.i 

In the course of time one saw the blessed results of 
long and prayerful labour. The anathemas of the Coptic 
ecclesiastics lost their power. New congregations gathered 
strength in the grace of the Gospel. In Siout Protestant 
influence was strong enough to transfer the holding of fairs 
from the traditional Sunday. Nowhere under Mohammedan 
rule were so many children receiving Christian instruction. 
In the Thebaid women and their little ones took part in 
the meetings of the travelling evangelist — a rare sight in 
the lands of the Crescent. The multiplication of Arabic 
Scriptures in embossed type raised up numbers of blind 
teachers, blind distributers of both sexes. The Bible boats 
of the Mission passed up and down the Nile, putting in at 

1 The number in 1883 was 3307, and the colporteur's sales in that year amounted 
to 2397 copies, 


the mud villages, where the pigeons circled round the Coptic 
towers, and the shadoof or the crying "Persian wheel" 
watered the date trees and dhurra fields, and naked children 
raced on the banks. Colporteurs frequented the city streets 
and bazaars. The evangelist with his books crossed the 
Libyan Desert to the Western Oasis — in the days of the 
Mamelukes a settlement of 14,000 Christians guarded from 
robber tribes by Saracen soldiers, ^ but now there were only 
ninety nominal believers, occasionally visited by a Coptic 
priest, and a single copy of the Bible in the ten villages 
— a volume in Arabic saved from wanton destruction by a 
Moslem sheik. On his visit to Egypt, Dr Manning of the 
Religious Tract Society told the anniversary meeting in 1880, 
he saw everywhere the evidence of a vigorous evangelisa- 
tion. At Siout, where he read over a large building the 
English and Arabic inscription "Depot of the British and 
Foreign Bible and Religious Tract Societies," a staff of 
seventy or eighty fellahin converts carried the Word of God 
far and wide through Central Egypt. Even beyond the 
First Cataract a Coptic priest among the palms and broken 
temples on Philae showed him with pride and joy a Bible 
from the Society's shelves in Cairo. 

Outside these joint operations the Bible cause was assisted 
by many workers — notable among them, Dr Yule of the 
Church of Scotland Mission, Mr Reichardt of the London 
Jews Society, the Dutch Mission at Kalioub near Cairo, 
Miss Whately, daughter of the Archbishop of Dublin, whose 
schools were supplied for many years from the Bible House ; 
and towards the close there was a hint of a new field in the 
purchase of 100 Hebrew Bibles for a Swedish school at Sana 
in Yemen, some distance north of Aden. 

There were now two colporteurs connected with the 
Alexandria depot which was removed in 1881 to a more 

' A tax for that old protection was still paid to certain families, descendants of 
these soldiers, at Kalamoon, 


attractive site in the Boulevard de Ramleh. Among the 
strangers who called was a Calabrian image - seller who 
brought two carved wooden figures to exchange for an Italian 
Testament, and Kalakaua, King of the Sandwich Islands, 
who bought a large Bible to present to the Khedive. In 
the course of the year Dr Thomson came on a tour of 
inspection, and formed a local committee to discuss financial 
matters and to advise the sub-agent. It was the last official 
act in a chapter that was nearly closed. 

We need not speak here of the discontent in the Egyptian 
army, the jealousies and hesitations of the European Powers, 
the tortuous intrigues of the Sultan (intent on a fiery revival 
throughout the Moslem world), which resulted in the 
Egyptian upheaval of 1882. On the 20th May the French 
and British ships of war appeared before Alexandria. On 
Sunday afternoon, nth June, the Arab and fellah populace 
rose in a planned attack on the Europeans. Even the 
watermen had their cue ; the return of parties which went 
out to view the battleships was delayed till the hour 
appointed for the outbreak, and the harbour gates were 
closed after them when they landed. From the balcony of 
his house Mr Kirby saw the march of the excited mob, 
men and lads armed with swords, fire-arms, and the six- 
foot club or nabout, women cheering them on to pillage 
and murder. He and his family escaped to Malta, where 
he was able to distribute the Scriptures among the crowd 
of refugees. 

Within a fortnight of the rising, in which fifty or sixty 
persons were done to death, Arabi received a decoration 
from the Sultan. England stood alone amid the divided 
counsels of Europe. Few believed she would interpose 
single-handed; but the limits of toleration had been 
passed, and Mr Gladstone was strong in the sense of that 
righteousness which exalteth a nation.^ In the Thames, 

1 Holl^d Rose, The Development of the Europemi Nations, pp, 4/^5-459, 


at Southampton, Portsea, Devonport, and Liverpool, 17,000 
Testaments were distributed among the troops as they 
embarked for Egypt; and the Auxiliaries at Allahabad 
and Bombay supplied vernacular Scriptures for the Indian 
contingent. On the loth July Alexandria was bombarded. 
Gaining time by means of a flag of truce, Arabi retreated' 
from the city, which was left to the mercy of released 
convicts and the rabble. Between four and five hundred 
persons were massacred ; the European quarter was burnt 
down ; and the loss by fire and pillage amounted to 
;^7,ooo,ooo sterling. Infamous and futile strategy ! In the 
grey dawn of the 13th September the earthworks at Tel-el- 
Kebir were stormed ; ^ at sundown a handful of British 
horse reached Cairo ; the citadel and 10,000 Egyptian 
troops surrendered to 500 sabres, and Arabi gave up his 

Shortly after the bombardment Mr Kirby returned to 
Alexandria. The Boulevard de Ramleh "resembled a 
street in Pompeii." The depot and the entire stock had 
perished, and a claim was lodged for compensation to the 
extent of ;^900. It was withdrawn, however, when the 
Committee understood that the amount would be wrung 
from the oppressed fellahin whom it was their desire to 
benefit ; and in asking Lord Dufferin to convey the sincere 
thanks of the Egyptian Government, Cherif Pasha warmly 
acknowledged "the disinterestedness and elevated sentiments 
which inspired the decision." Temporary premises were 
taken, and the colporteurs resumed work among the Greek 

But the time had come for larger and more systematic 
action. Egypt was made the seat of a great agency which 
should include Syria and the Holy Land, the shores of the 
Red Sea and the Soudan. An exceptional representative 

* In the assault on the trenches a Highlander owed his life to a copy of the New 
f estament which he carried in his haversacl?. 


was found in the Rev. Robert H. Weakley, one of the 
revisers of the Turkish version, who was then arranging 
for the withdrawal of the Society from Sweden. The 
American Mission, which had now fifty-five stations in 
the Nile Valley, heartily concurred in the project. "We 
cherish a very warm recollection," wrote the Rev. Drs 
Lansing and Hogg, "of all the kindness of your Society 
to us as a Mission. We do not remember to have ever 
asked anything from you that has been denied us." On 
the I St December 1883 Egypt was formally divided from 
the Turkish Agency.^ 

The expenditure connected with the Bible-work described 
in this chapter was merged in that of the Turkish and 
Italian Agencies. As to distribution, between 1873 and the 
beginning of 1884, 39,270 copies were circulated in Egypt 
(over 16,000 of these by the American Mission). From 
1872 onward the figures for Syria (Beyrout) and Palestine 
respectively exceeded 15,000 and 39,000 copies. 

^ A few months after his wife's sudden death in 1883, the grave closed over 
Thomas J. Kirby, who had long served in the Malta dep6t before his appointment 
as sub-agent in Eg3^t. 

"the apostles' way" 

After fourteen years of silence the story of Abyssinia has 
its sequel in these pages, and the cause of its sudden 
reappearance is one of those chance incidents which are 
"the little pebbles that decide the course of great rivers." 
In the early fifties a girl of one of the Galla tribes was 
brought from Egypt by a German nobleman on his return 
home. She was sent by the Queen of Wiirtemberg to be 
educated at Kornthal, near Stuttgard ; her heart was won 
for Christ, she received baptism ; and some time afterwards 
she went to Basel on a visit to her god-father. Christian 
Frederic Spittler, the celebrated philanthropist and one of 
the founders of the Basel Mission. There, in her twentieth 
year, Pauline Fatme fell ill and died. In her last moments 
she called for her god-father, and, lifting up her wasted 
hands, solemnly entreated him never to forget the Gallas, 
and to send missionaries and the Bible to her people. The 
promise given at that touching moment was not forgotten. 
In concert with Bishop Gobat of Jerusalem, Mr Spittler 
formed a plan for entering Abyssinia with lay evangelists, 
who, while securing a welcome by means of Western trades 
and crafts, should prepare the way for ordained teachers, 
and eventually for mission work among the Galla tribes. 

Dr Krapf and Mr Flad of the London Jews Society 
were chosen as pioneers of the project. Theodore, who 
had just established himself supreme ruler in Abyssinia, 



was eager to have European craftsmen, and assented to the 
admission of ordained missionaries even, if they would 
refrain from causing religious and ecclesiastical divisions in 
the empire. On the application of the Bishop, 300 Bibles 
and Testaments in Amharic and a supply of Ethiopic 
Scriptures were despatched by the Committee in 1856; and 
crossing the western boundary of Amhara, Mr Flad and 
the first contingent of the Pilgrim Mission of St Chrischona 
entered Abyssinia with large boxes which were rumoured 
to be full of gold and silver tribute from Jerusalem for ' ' the 
King of Kings." "Have you brought me a gunsmith?" 
was Theodore's first question. Though the answer was a 
disappointment, he treated the strangers kindly. Of their 
Ethiopic Scriptures he would have none. "Why do you 
bring such books, which nobody understands? What is 
the use of them ? The Amharic are far better ; they are 
understood by every one." But the Abuna, the head of the 
Abyssinian Church, who bought a whole case of Psalters 
and Testaments in Ethiopic, would not touch a copy in 
Amharic, a profane tongue, unfit for prayer, a desecration 
of the Word of God, whereas the reading of ' ' the holy 
language," unintelligible though it were to ninety-five out 
of every hundred of the clergy, was a means of acquiring 

This first consignment of the Scriptures was dispersed 
over fifteen provinces. Groups of men and women listened 
to the reading of the Gospel and to the explanations of 
the pilgrims. Priests, men of letters (debteras), monks, 
soldiers, schoolboys, came from different districts to obtain 
copies ; and when the Felashas (Abyssinian Jews) learned 
that they too were included in the work of the mission, they 
sent messengers to their villages to bring their friends. 
Several of the Portions distributed in bygone days by the 
Bishop were shown to Mr Flad, and from some of the 
Bishop's old friends — Alaoa, Habta, and others — he heard 

268 "THE APOSTLES' WAY" [i854- 

recoUections of conversations published more than twenty 
years before in the Journal of the Bishop. 

Two more consignments (1240 volumes) reached their 
destination in April 1859; but during the last stage of the 
journey, which included three days in the desert, two of 
the party succumbed to the hardships of the way, and died 
on the Abyssinian border. Among these books were 100 
Bibles in red leather, a special gift, gladly received by the 
King, to assist him to furnish the churches, and to enforce 
his reform, that on every Sunday and feast-day the clergy 
should read to their congregations some chapters of the 
Old and New Testaments in their common speech. 

Meanwhile the brethren of the Pilgrim Mission had 
gained a remarkable influence over Theodore. They built 
him roads and bridges, blasted rocks, introduced all kinds 
of useful arts, distributed the Word of God and testified 
to its efficacy by their own lives and conversation. In 
recognition of their civil services they were ennobled. They 
were allowed to open a school for Felasha children ; and 
the King, who had been led to admit that they were right 
on the points of divergence between Bible doctrine and 
ecclesiastical tradition, had partaken with them of the Lord's 
Supper in token of his acknowledgment. 

In 1859 the Committee undertook an edition, in portable 
form, of the Amharic Psalter, and by the beginning of the 
following year 2000 copies were ready. But means of 
communication were scarcely less important than the pro- 
duction of the Scriptures. Letters might take twelve or 
eighteen months to reach Europe ; many never reached 
Europe at all ; and the transport of books was very costly. 
Musing over these matters and his promise to the dying 
Galla maiden. Christian Spittler saw in his mind's eye a 
long line of route — his "Apostles' Way" — stretching 
from Jerusalem 1800 miles up the green Nile Valley to 
Gondar. Twelve stations, fifty leagues apart, each named 


after one of the Apostles, and each to form the nucleus of 
a small Christian settlement, should link Alexandria with 
the old Abyssinian capital. In 1859 the first ;£'ioo for each 
of the twelve stations had been promised; in 1863 three 
were in operation — at Cairo, Metemma,i and one within the 
empire ; a fourth was about to be opened at Khartoum ; 
and after many difficulties six missionaries had obtained 
leave to labour among the Gallas of the interior. On their 
side, the Committee had promptly accepted Dr Krapfs 
offer to undertake a Galla version, and voted him a grant 
of £300 to carry out the project. 

Before this date, however, the London Jews Society was 
in the field. Large districts were traversed ; at the different 
Felasha villages one volume or two, according to the number 
of the huts, were left among the people ; venerable grey- 
beards were seen on grassy hillock or under shady tree 
spelling out the most beautiful Messianic passages ; for 
days men followed the missionaries across the mountains, 
crying " Abiet, ketab shudus ! " [" Master, the Holy Book ! "] ; 
and many, convinced of the truth of the Gospel, were 
already anxious to be baptized. Five hundred copies, 
chiefly Amharic, were sent out to the Rev. H. Stern, and 
a money grant was voted towards the cost of carriage 
through the gorges and along the mountain ledges of a 
wild and roadless country. 

The prospect was at its brightest — a quickened interest 
stirred all classes, and in many churches the brethren were 
allowed to expound the Bible to large and attentive con- 
gregations — when progress was arrested by Theodore's 
wrathful outbreak against imaginary insults on the part of 
England. British officials, English and German mission- 
aries, with their wives and children, artisans and craftsmen, 
were seized and held in an ominous captivity ; but these 

1 Arabic Scriptures were sent in 1864 to the station at Metemma for distribution 
among the Mohammedans on the Atbara and pilgrims passing to and from the shrine 
at Mecca. 

270 "THE APOSTLES' WAY" [i854- 

barbaric reprisals cost him his throne and his life. Magdala 
was stormed on the 13th April 1868 ; the King, fallen by 
his own hand, was found among the slain within the gate ; 
and four days later all that remained of the blood-stained 
mountain fortress was "a scorched rock." 

Before leaving Bombay every European soldier in the 
expedition was offered a Psalter, Testament, or Gospel, 
and under the heights of Magdala, wrote Krapf, numbers 
of the men were seen gathered together for Scripture- 
reading and prayer. The great missionary himself accepted 
the post of interpreter on c6ndition that he should be free 
to employ colporteurs on the line of march, and a plentiful 
supply of Abyssinian Scriptures was shipped to Aden to 
meet the troops. Over 20,000 copies of Romans, Galatians, 
and Hebrews, in Amharic, had left the press a year or two 
earlier, and, stranger still, 1000 volumes of the Four 
Gospels in Tigre, by Krapfs old colleague Isenberg, had 
been printed in time to be available. 

There were, indeed, few opportunities for distribution 
during the advance, but after the withdrawal of the 
expedition the supplies were committed to two young 
Abyssinians, former pupils of Dr Wilson of Bombay and 
friends of Kassai, the powerful Prince of Tigre, who had 
materially aided the British force. In the course of the 
year a donation of ;^ioo was received from Tasmania to 
further the work in Abyssinia, and two of Theodore's 
captives, Messrs Bender and Mayer, who were eager to 
resume their mission, were engaged for colportage. The 
way was beset with difficulties. In the eyes of the 
priests, Tigre, the language of 3,000,000 people, was more 
despicable even than Amharic ; the common folk were 
for the most part illiterate ; and the fierce struggle for 
supremacy between Prince Kassai and Gobazye of Amhara 
so restricted operations that in three years no more than 
3000 copies were put into circulation. In 1870 Mr Flad 


reached Metemma with thirteen camel-loads of Scriptures 
and tracts, but the west country was in such a state of 
confusion that he could do no more than send by the 
trade caravans some hundreds of volumes for which 
he had received pressing entreaties from a hundred and 
eighteen towns and villages. It was not until 1872 that 
Ras Kassai, under the title of Johannes II., was crowned 
at Axum "Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, God's 
Appointed, Negus Nagasti of Ethiopia." 

We now obtain the first glimpse of the work in the south. 
Escaping from Magdala during the advance of the expedi- 
tion, Menelik of Shoa recovered his father's kingdom, and 
subdued the country as far south as Kaffa, and west and east 
from the Blue River to Adal. Chrischona evangelists and 
Swedish missionaries were labouring among the people of 
Shoa and the Galla tribes. The first Central Galla portion — 
St Luke — had been published in 1870, and St John, the 
Psalms, and Genesis appeared up to 1873. A great desire for 
the sacred books had been awakened. In December 1873 two 
of the Pilgrim brotherhood brought up supplies through the 
wilderness of Adal ; the King himself distributed a number 
of copies among his great men ; and the people, roused to 
enthusiasm, thronged for Galla and Amharic books long 
after the stock had been exhausted. 

"Everywhere," said Menelik joyfully, "my soldiers are 
sitting in groups, spelling or reading." Even the Roman 
Catholic bishop at Aman asked for Bibles and Testaments, 
and declared his respect for men who gave the people in 
their own tongue the Living Word which his Church denied 
them. "There are five stations of French priests in the 
Galla country," wrote Krapf significantly ; and the Com- 
mittee arranged to open a depot at Massowa in charge of 
Mr Lundhal of the Swedish society, and to press on with the 
Galla version. The New Testament was ready in 1876, and 
Exodus left the press in 1877. 

272 "THE APOSTLES' WAY" ['8S4- 

At home, in the meantime, besides other printings, a new 
three-volume edition of the Amharic Old Testament — revised 
by Krapf with the help of four Abyssinians in training at St 
Chrischona — was advancing steadily towards its completion 
in 1878 ; and by a happy inspiration a diglot of the Psalms 
(the binding of which was alone charged to the Society) 
conciliated ecclesiastical prejudice by showing the venerable 
Ethiopic text side by side with the disquieting vernacular. 
The idea was adopted by the Committee; a diglot of the 
four Gospels and Acts was printed in 1875-76, and the com- 
plete Ethiop-Amharic New Testament followed three years 

When Mr Flad returned to Metemma with these 
Abyssinian students in 1874, lohannes welcomed him with 
a characteristic mixture of warmth and petulance : " Come 
quickly — as a friend, not as a teacher. I have ordered 
my governors to have you in their care. The young men 
who came with you may teach, but I do not want foreign 
teachers." To his satisfaction, however, a case of diglot 
Psalters and other Scriptures were presented to him in the 
name of the Society. On all sides there were tokens of a 
spiritual change. Morning and evening prayer meetings 
were attended by large numbers. Priests, scribes, laymen 
came two or three days' journey to obtain the Word of God. 
"I have no money," said one poor priest, offering his 
turban, " but I will go bare-headed rather than lose the 
chance of having this Psalter." Theological students, clad 
in cow-hides, brought pieces of salt (the change of Abyssinia) 
which they had got by singing at the doors of the wealthy. 
Among the Felashas, who observed so rigorously the Mosaic 
Law that they still offered yearly the blood of victims, 
sixty-nine converts had been baptized in the preceding year, 
and one hundred and twenty were awaiting baptism. " I 
was astounded at the great things the Lord had wrought." 

But the picture was barred with deep shadows. lohannes, 


one conceives, would fain have been true to his better 
nature ; but he had neither the enlightened intellect nor the 
strong hand of the King of Shoa. Harassed by rebellions, 
fretted by intriguing chiefs and a jealous priesthood, he was 
at once a creature of impulse and of expediency. In 1875 a 
bitter cry of the persecuted reached "the most honoured and 
loved, the Bible Society in London." "We, the people, 
priests, and deacons expelled from Hamasen and its capital 
Tzazega, write to tell you only a little of the sufferings of 
those who read the Bible." No missionary had set foot in 
Hamasen when in 1868 one of the cases of Scriptures sent 
inland in the train of the expedition was diverted, in some 
unknown way, into that north-west angle of Abyssinia. 
" Many holy books were thrown, as it were, into our houses. 
We took them up and read them. With great joy we 
assembled, read, and searched them ; and in course of time 
we discovered the errors of our Church." For three years 
the Coptic priests and monks assailed the Bible - readers, 
excommunicated them, stirred the people up against them. 
They were delivered to the Governor of Tigre to be stoned 
to death. He chained them hand and foot, but was bribed 
to let them go. They found refuge in Egyptian territory, 
but the hot winds of the low country drove them back to 
their highlands. Resolved on their destruction, the priests 
appealed to the King and the Abuna ; and a royal missive 
ordered the heretics to be brought in chains to the capital. 
Most of them fled in the night to the desert of Genda ; those 
who remained, and in whose possession the Scriptures were 
found, were despoiled and imprisoned, and in the name of 
king and archbishop a herald cried through Hamasen : 
" We bless him who despoiled the Bible-readers ; but bring 
us their hands ! " 

They built huts in the wilderness. Friends warned them 
that the chief priest of Hamasen had raised a troop to fall 
upon them suddenly, and they moved in the winter to the 
VOL. in. s 

274 "THE APOSTLES' WAY" ['854- 

desert of Ailat. In the heat of that valley each man, woman, 
and child sickened of fever. More than a hundred died 
around them ; of their own company not one ; and God, of 
His goodness, gave their sickness such a turn that all were 
not sick at once, but ever there were some well among them 
to help the stricken. So strange did all this seem in 
Hamasen that many of the people began to search after the 
Truth. Thrice had they sent letters of entreaty to the King, 
but he had made no answer. "This then is our petition. 
We wish to live in our country, plough our land with our 
own cattle, serve the King with our bodies, but with our 
souls we wish to be subject to Christ. On this account we 
entreat you to implore our King and Bishop to grant us 
freedom of conscience. If it cannot be done, we are as fish 
drawn from the water. In every case pray for us. We, the 
banished and bereft, are one hundred and twenty persons, and 
three-and-thirty priests and deacons. May God hear us ! " 

The distress, the turbulence and brigandage incident to 
a reign marked by injustice and abuse of power were 
intensified by the Khedive's Expedition and the war with 
Menelik. The Egyptians were beaten, Menelik was defeated, 
and by a signal act of barbaric chivalry lohannes restored 
and crowned him King of Shea with his own diadem ; but 
the northern kingdom was ravaged by famine, hydrophobia, 
cattle plague, and burdened with grinding taxes and quarter- 
ing of troops. Still, in the midst of misery and turmoil the 
Word of Life was spread abroad from the western frontier 
and borne at a heavy cost through the desert into Shoa.^ 
Menelik took a deep interest in its distribution among his 
soldiers, priests, and people, and special copies sent to 
himself and his chiefs were received with delight. 

Once again, in December 1880, Mr Flad, with a long 
train of camels laden with Scriptures, reached the palm- 

' From Tajurra to Ankober, a journey of nearly 300 miles, the transport of 1000 
volumes by camel-train cost £1 10. 


clusters of Metemma after a desert journey of twenty-eight 
days from Suakim. Dagusa and Dembea, once fertile and 
populous, he found wasted and desolate. Hundreds of 
ragged fugitives from Abyssinia were trying to sustain a 
wretched existence as hawkers and carriers of wood and 
straw. The King's troops — now mere robber-bands — had 
raided their cattle. Traffic with Egypt was forbidden, and 
one caravan of luckless traders had just been plundered, and 
dragged in chains to the despot. David, who had been 
among the first of the Felasha converts,^ was sent with 
letters to lohannes, praying him to allow the nine Felasha 
teachers to fetch the holy books. Weeks passed, and there 
was no answer. Burdened with care — "At times it appears 
to me as though the Lord had forsaken us " — the good 
missionary decided to found a mission-station at Metemma, 
so that, when he left, his Abyssinians should not feel them- 
selves wholly forsaken. Gobbau was appointed catechist and 
schoolmaster, and the store of Scriptures was given to his 
care, to find their way, little by little, into the country with 
the merchants. 

In April the English papers reported that the King 
was said to have fallen in battle. It was an unfounded 
rumour ; and late in the autumn, at his home in Kornthal, 
Mr Flad was cheered with the news that all the books had 
been conveyed to the Genda mission-station by the order 
and at the expense of lohannes himself. Incalculable, 
passionate being ! 

" Afric is all the sun's, and as the earth 
Her human clay is kindled — full of power 
For good and evil." 

1 A letter which David got some scribe to write for him to Mrs Flad at this time 
contains a pretty picture. His wife was " quite a Biblewoman in her way " — had 
learned to read in one of the mission schools — and on Sundays the women who came 
" to kiss the church " would gather round her in the churchyard, and listen breathlessly 
to the story of redemption read to them in their mother-tongue. David was no 
scholar, but he did not like to be extinguished by his wife's learning and piety, and 
" now that he had been nearly twenty years baptized and was in his thirty-ninth year^ 
he had made up his mind to sit down with the boys and learn his letters." 

276 "THE APOSTLES' WAY" [i854- 

The native teachers, too, were abroad, often on long bare- 
foot marches "up hill and down hill, in a pathless, rocky, 
thorny country, exceeding hot, and full of wild beasts." 
In many Felasha houses they found Amharic Bibles, Bible 
stories, tracts — sometimes books received before the captivity 
in Magdala, sometimes books got a dozen years gone by 
at Metemma, "from a European named Gieta Flad," — and 
these had brought blessing to numbers. 

On a November afternoon at Kornthal — it was the 26th 
of the month ; the year, 1881 — Mr Flad spent an hour with 
Krapf, the alert, unwearied spirit to whom Abyssinia and 
the Bible Society owed so much. They talked of the 
Second Advent, and the old missionary told of his deep 
conviction that the coming of the Lord was very near. 
When Krapf went to his room that night he knelt down 
by his bedside ; there, still praying as it were, he was 
found lifeless in the morning. They buried him beside his 
old companion Rebmann. Though his crowded and adven- 
turous life gave an impression of great age, he had not 
completed his seventy-first year. 

When Henry Venn uttered in 1851 the familiar prediction, 
" If Africa is to be penetrated by European missionaries, it 
must be from the east coast," Johann Ludwig Krapf and 
Johann Rebmann of the Church Missionary Society were 
the only missionaries who had attempted the mysterious 
continent from its morning side. One gave the first tidings 
of the inland sea, long afterwards named Victoria Nyanza ; 
the other discovered Kilima-njaro, whose equatorial snows 
made mirth for incredulous men of science. In time "both 
sea and mountain heard the songs of Zion." "Bible 
translation," wrote Bishop Steere, "like geographical dis- 
covery, and almost everything else in the recent history of 
East Africa, owes its beginning to Dr Krapf." Krapf 
never forgot the Galla maiden Fatme ; and towards the end 
it gave him pleasure to speak of the future when there 


would be a Galla bishop — another Crowther; and the 
Gospel would have reached the Christian remnants of an 
ancient time which still survived, it was said, in Sidama 
and Susa, south-west of Kaffa ; "and from Kaffa there can 
be no great distance to the White River and the great 
lake, Victoria Nyanza." 

In the closing years of the period work was going on 
amid Abyssinian incursions which threatened even the 
people of Massowa. The Rhenish missionaries in the south 
were translating the Old Testament into Galla, but had no 
means of forwarding the manuscript safely to Europe. As 
the result of a royal proclamation, some 50,000 Moham- 
medans had become Coptic Christians rather than quit the 
country, and lohannes had built churches on the sites of 
their old mosques. Then, too, among the Kamants, a pagan 
tribe in the mountains north of Gondar, there were churches 
and priests. For all these churches Mr Flad besought 
Amharic Bibles, and the Committee readily assented. 

Between 1854 and 1884 the Society issued over 38,000 
volumes in Amharic, some 4000 in Ethiop-Amharic, 1000 
in Tigrin, and 7077 in Galla. In addition there were 300 
copies of St Mark, translated by Professor Reinisch of 
Vienna University into the language of the Bogos in the 
region just north of Abyssinia — a savage, illiterate people, 
part Coptic, part Mohammedan and Romanist, among 
whom the Swedish Mission had begun work. In all 
50,599 copies of Scripture. Of the Society's expenditure 
one can trace ;^2536 from 1863, and much of this amount 
was spent in payment of conveyance and in aid of colportage. 

Nineteen years had gone by since Krapf laid his wife 
and babe in their " lonely missionary grave " at Mombasa,^ 

^ " Tell our friends at home,'' he wrote to the Church Missionary Society 
Committee, " that there is now on the East African coast a lonely missionary grave. 
This is a sign that you have commenced the struggle with this part of the world ; and 
as the victories of the Church are gained by stepping over the graves of her members, 
you may be the more convinced that the hour is at hand when you are summoned to 
[he conversion of Africa from its eastern shore." 

278 "THE APOSTLES' WAY'^ [i8s4- 

seventeen since he cut a large cross on a tree in Usumbara 
as a sign that he had taken possession for Christ, when 
the Universities Mission, after its sufferings and reverses 
on the mainland, was transferred in 1863 to Zanzibar. The 
Scriptures were at once circulated among the Arabs in their 
own tongue, but it was not long before the missionaries 
felt the need of a version in the language of the native 
population. As early as 1844 Krapf began a translation 
of Genesis, but the pundits of Mombasa had induced him 
to accept as pure Swahili a dialect so highly refined as to 
be all but unintelligible to the mass of the people. An 
independent start was now made. The Rev. Edward 
Steere, who went out with Bishop Tozer on his appoint- 
ment, applied himself to the mastery of the language, and 
after five years of patient toil, returned to England in 1868 
with the Gospel of St Matthew and the Psalms. The 
Committee readily accepted these beginnings in what was 
not merely the "speech of the coast," as its name indicated, 
but what proved to be the lingua franca of Central Africa 
and one of the twelve widespread languages of the world. 
The Gospel (500 copies) was issued in 1870, and the 
Psalter, which received the benefit of Mr (afterwards Canon) 
Girdlestone's scholarship in passing through the press, 
appeared in 1871. 

On the failure of Bishop Tozer's health in 1872, Mr 
Steere went back to Zanzibar, and two years later, when he 
succeeded him as Bishop, the Gospel of St John was ready 
for the printers. It was scarcely three months after his 
consecration that the C.M.S. Mombasa Mission reached its 
destination (November 1874). A few miles inland, on the 
hills beyond the bush, lay Rabai or Kisulutini, Krapfs 
former station ; and there, in a wretched hut, blind, with a 
dozen Wanyika Christians about him, they found "Old 
Rebmann." For nine-and-twenty years he had kept an 
unbroken vigil for them on this solitary Gospel frontier. 


They prevailed on him to return to the Fatherland, and a 
home was found for him at Kornthal, near his colleague 
Krapf, The Committee undertook the publication of his 
Swahili translation of St Luke, which had long been pain- 
fully elaborated, and which he would allow no one but his 
Wanyikas to see until he considered it as perfect as he could 
make it. The little book appeared in 1877, but it never 
reached his hand. He died suddenly in 1876, on the 4th 
October, the day on which the first sheet of his Kinyassa 
Dictionary issued from the press. He was only fifty-six — 
"Old Rebmann." 

At Zanzibar, Steere was the ideal of the workman 
bishop. In the old Slave Market, once horrible with its 
pictures of callous cruelty and brutal degradation, he laid 
the foundations of Christ Church Cathedral — worked out 
plans, corded scaffold-poles, mixed mortar, and helped to 
build it. From time to time a cruiser brought in some 
Arab dhow packed with wretched slaves ; among them 
perhaps an old woman who had lost her wits with trouble, 
a blind boy, the cheeriest of little ebonies, a six-months 
child whose mother had died in the stifling hold. A 
mission-colony of rescued slaves was founded at Magila 
in 1875, and a half-way station was formed at Masasi a 
year later. There were schools for the children, who were 
instructed, baptized, and brought up to useful trades. All 
the while he was busy with his translations into a language 
which, ' ' roughly speaking, had no prepositions at all " ; 
and before long the different books, issued tentatively in 
the island, before being sent to the Bible House for publica- 
tion, were printed at the Mission press by his old scholars, 
the negro lads who had been snatched from the slave- 
traders. His own house became a Bible depot from which 
supplies were drawn for all parts of the Central African 

He was profoundly impressed with the paramount 

28o "THE APOSTLES' WAY" ['854- 

importance of giving the people the Word of God in their 
own tongue. "I feel here," he wrote, when he accepted the 
post of Vice-President of the Society in 1880, "that our 
work must be all unsound without a vernacular Bible ; and 
the Bible Society has made this possible to us." 

By the beginning of 1880 the whole of the New Testa- 
ment in Swahili had been published in separate portions, 
and Genesis was translated. Rebmann's Luke, revised and 
harmonised with the rest in spelling, was issued by the 
Committee ; and the Bishop, feeling that the devoted toil of 
the blind pioneer ought not to pass unrecognised, included 
it in his own version. 

In 1881 Exodus was printed at Zanzibar, after repeated 
delays — "for want of paper," he explains ; even now, "you 
will see, we have had to use four different sorts " : a matter 
which the Committee promptly made straight by a grant 
of a hundred reams. Isaiah was in hand — a fairly accurate 
rendering, he hoped, notwithstanding the use of Arabic 
names for stones, and the like, which have no equivalents 
in the pure African tongues. Progress perhaps has been 
regrettably slow, but the mission-work expands so fast ^ that, 
" if I did not consider a vernacular Bible essential to sound 
mission-work, I should often be tempted to lay it aside for 
a much longer time." 

In the early summer of 1882 the Bishop was in England. 
"Like a beam of sunlight" he entered the Bible House, 
ever one of the places he first visited, and one of the last 
in which he lingered before his departure. He brought 
with him the fruit of nearly twenty years of laborious scholar- 
ship, the corrected and revised text of the New Testament, 
and with it a translation of the Books of Kings. Amid his 
many engagements he found time for an article on "The Bible 
in East Africa," which appeared in the Society's Monthly 

^ At this date the Bishop had thirty-one European missionaries, ordained and 
lay, seven of them ladies. 


Reporter for July. He returned to Zanzibar, as though to 
realise his conception of the lifelong office of a Missionary 
Bishop: "England may be the easiest place in which to 
live, but Africa is just as good a place to die in, and his 
death at his post may do much more than his life." On 
the 27th August he was found dying, unconscious, with an 
unfinished letter and the corrected proofs of his Isaiah on 
the table. All ranks and classes, from the representative 
of the Seyyid downward, attended his funeral, and English 
sailors carried him to his grave "behind the high altar at 
the foot of the episcopal throne " in his cathedral ; that 
was at the foot of the whipping post of the old Slave 
Market. 1 

A thousand copies of the Books of Kings were issued 
in the course of the year; and in 1883 the first edition of 
the complete Swahili New Testament (5050 copies) left the 
press ; consignments were shipped to Zanzibar for the use 
of the various missions ; and the Committee undertook the 
publication of the Book of Joshua, translated by Archdeacon 
Hodgson, with the help of a Zanzibari (once a slave, at that 
time a student at St Augustine's, Canterbury), and revised 
by the Rev. H. Geldart and Miss Thackeray. In the island 
itself the late Bishop's Genesis was printed in a tentative 
edition by his dusky scholars. 

From 1870, when Swahili took its place in the Society's 
list of Bible languages, the Committee had produced 15,232 
copies of Scripture in that wide-ranging tongue. At their 
first sitting in 1884 they had the pleasure of meeting his 
successor. Bishop Smythies, and wishing him God-speed in 
a new period of co-operation and expansion. 

In his article for the Monthly Reporter Bishop Steere cast 
his glance over the regions of "the Dark Continent," in 

' Among the memorials at the Bible House is a pleasing photograph of Bishop 
Steere, presented by Miss Thackeray of the Universities Mission. Besides his 
earlier books on English Brotherhoods and Persecutions of the Church, Steere wrote 
handbooks of Nyamwezi, Shambala, and Swahili, and a volume of Swahili Tales 
with a translation, before he became Bishop. 

282 "THE APOSTLES' WAY" [i8S4- 

which so many lights were being kindled. The Universities 
had missions to the north of Zanzibar, had occupied the 
country between the sea and Nyassa, and had there joined 
hands with the Scottish Missions on the Lake. Not far 
from Rabai the United Free Methodists were stationed among 
the Wanyika. The Church Missionary Society had "enor- 
mously extended its work." The London Mission had 
pushed through Unyarawezi to the shores of Tanganyika, 
where tracks had been blazed for it by its Livingstone. 
By all these, and even by the Romanist societies in their 
measure, the Swahili version was used. "Already it was 
having children of its own " — had served the natives as a 
medium for assisting in translations into their local tongues. 
In 1879, after three years' work at Masasi with Steere, 
the Rev. Chauncy Maples (afterwards Archdeacon and 
Bishop) returned to England with the Gospel of St Matthew 
in Yao, the language spoken at Livingstonia and Blantyre 
and in the country stretching east and south of Nyassa ; 
and in 1880, 500 copies were printed. From the station of 
the United Methodist Free Church at Ribe, not many miles 
from the wretched hut in which we found Rebmann, the 
Committee received in 1881 the same Gospel in the tongue 
of the Wanyika, prepared by the Rev. Thomas Wakefield 
and an Arab assistant. An edition of 1000 copies was 
printed under the eye of the translator, and Kinyika was 
added to the Society's roll of languages.^ 

1 In Nyika, too, Krapf was a pioneer. Bishop Steere refers in his article to his 
Gospel of St Luke (1848), and tells of the famous medicine-man, or sorcerer, who 
was one of the few converts. The man afterwards fell into grievous sin and dis- 
appeared, but when a number of years had gone by, people from the interior of the 
Nyika country went down to " Mombas" for a teacher. They had learned to read 
the Gospel in their own tongue, they said ; had become believers, and desired more 
instruction. The old sorcerer had taken his Gospel with him when he fled, and had 
taught his countrymen to read it. A further sequel, it appears, was the building of 
a small church among the beehive grass huts of a Nyika village ; persecution at the 
hands of the medicine-men and the neighbouring chiefs ; migration and settlement 
on a river-island to the northward ; and lastly, the dispersion of the little Christian 
colony by Mohammedan slave-raiders and the cruel death of its headman. Here 
may be added a reference to certain African prefixes. U-nyika is the country ; 
Wa-nyika, the people ; M-nyika, the man ; Ki-nyika (adjective) : similarly Bu-ganda, 
the country ; ]3a-ganda, the people ; Mu-ganda, the man ; Lu-ganda (adjective). 
The familiar U-ganda and Wa-ganda are coast forms. 


It was from these Swahili translations, wrote Bishop 
Steere — "from these translations, in the hands of an old 
scholar of ours, that Stanley was able to give the King of 
Uganda some idea of our faith." The traveller showed 
Mtesa a copy of the Bible, the Divine Book which had made 
the British a great and powerful nation ; and long afterwards 
at a meeting of one of the English Auxiliaries, Stanley told 
how, when turning away from Uganda to continue his 
explorations across "the Dark Continent," a messenger 
who had travelled 200 miles came to him crying out that 
Mtesa wanted the Book. That copy had been a gift from the 
sister of David Livingstone, but it was given to him. 

This was the origin of the Uganda Mission ; and in 1876, 
when the first eight missionaries of the Church Missionary 
Society turned their faces to the long road to the Victoria 
Nyanza, they carried with them the Swahili Scriptures. 
Mtesa came down from his throne to welcome them. When 
Stanley's boy — the "old scholar" — translated their society's 
letter into Swahili and came to a reference to our Lord, 
Mtesa ordered a salute to be fired, for joy at hearing the 
name of Jesus. Like Theodore in Abyssinia, his first 
thought was of guns and gunpowder, but in private he had 
one question to ask — Had they brought the Book? From 
them guns and gunpowder were not to be had ; perhaps, 
after all, the Book might contain a stronger magic than even 
fire-arms. Mtesa wavered between Christ and Mohammed 
to the end, and died an unbeliever ; but in spite of royal 
caprice, heathen opposition, the hostility of Arab traders, 
and the "industrial" rivalry of the Romanists, the mission 
held its ground. In 1880 the brilliant young Scotch engineer, 
Alexander Mackay— " Mackay of Uganda" — had translated 
the Ten Commandments and some of the Psalms into 
Luganda, and was busy on the Gospel of St Matthew. ' ' I 
had little idea," he wrote, " how many difficulties would meet 
me at every step." For sacred things there were but few 

284 "THE APOSTLES' WAY" [1854-1884] 

words which were not steeped in idolatrous superstition ; and 
to a people who lived on plantains, who neither sowed nor 
reaped, how many Scripture allusions must be unintelligible? 
In 1883 another gifted member, the Rev. Philip O'Flaherty, 
had overcome many of these difficulties — had "collected 
15,000 words, besides fables and proverbs which illustrate 
the life of the people, and translated the first three Gospels." 
In the same year, at Butonga in Uguha on the western 
marge of Tanganyika, the Rev. W. Griffith of the London 
Missionary Society had received technical works from the 
Society to assist him in translation, but in the language 
of the Baguha, with its ten classes of nouns, he had not 
yet discovered a word for "God," or a term to express the 
idea of "Spirit." Dr Southon had prepared a primer in 
Nyamwezi ; and the Rev. J. A. Wray (Church Missionary 
Society) was acquiring Sagalla among the war-like hill tribe 
at Taita — Taita, the first link in that chain of stations 
which, long ago, Krapf had planned to cross Africa from 
east to west. 

So the period closed. In the year of the Jubilee, as 
Canon Edmonds has finely observed. Central Africa was 
scarcely better known to us than it was to the Apostles. 
The "elephants" and "savage pictures" of the old carto- 
graphers had disappeared from the maps, but it was not 
until July 1858 that Speke discovered the Victoria Nyanza, 
' ' the great source of that holy river which cradled the first 
expounder of our religious belief."^ Then as traveller and 
explorer broke through the jungles of the interior, "one 
heard the sound of the Master's feet behind them " — heard 
even the accents of His voice. In a manner beyond even 
the dreams of Krapf and Christian Spittler, the Apostles' 
Way was ranging onward under the divine blessing. 

^ Si^ekt, Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile, p. 467. 



So far we have followed the movement of national events 
and the spontaneous outgrowth of the Society's work. We 
now turn to developments in Northern Europe. 

For ten years Mr John Kirkpatrick conducted the 
Society's affairs in Belgium. It was the most arduous 
and discouraging period in the history of the agency. 
Ultramontanism was in its most aggressive mood. A 
Clerical Government took office in 1855, but the attempt 
of the clergy to overturn the educational system of the 
country excited popular hostility, and their efforts to recover 
the administration of public charities raised a revolutionary 
storm which swept the Ministry from power. The work 
of the Society was assailed with unscrupulous bitterness. 
The Bishop of Bruges published another hostile volume, 
in which he accused "self-styled and most liberally paid 
ministers of the Gospel " of " scattering money with an open 
hand among poor Catholics, for the purpose of obtaining 
their more or less doubtful adhesion to their improvised 
churches " ; ^ the eloquent Abbe Combalot was summoned 
from Paris to lead a crusade against the dissemination of 
the Word of God ; pulpits rang with the denunciation of 
the Bible ; the excited mob broke into violence which had 
to be suppressed by the police and the military ; colporteurs 

^ " We are assured," wrote this credulous prelate, "that in connection with this 
traffic of consciences, there are prices-current, well-known tariffs. The apostasy 
of a family, according to the number of persons composing it, is valued by these 
Protestant ministers at from 500 to 1500 francs, ready money down. Has one, I ask, 
ever before heard of such a sacrilegious traffic ? " 



were derided with beating of kettles, insulted, pelted with 
dirt ; their books were torn up and burned — burned at the 
end of a pole by a yelling crowd in the market - place, 
solemnly burned by the priest in the church. The people 
were threatened with the usual penalties — suspension from 
the sacraments and the exclusion of their children from 
the First Communion ; and those who ventured to conform 
to their ideal of the Gospel were shunned, persecuted, 
deprived of the means of support, compelled to seek for 
a livelihood elsewhere. These were no new experiences ; 
they could be met with patience and prayer ; but the 
sinister result of the fanaticism of the priesthood and their 
aggressions on civil liberty was the strong anti-Papal 
feeling which was driving so many of the better educated 
to Deism, Pantheism, and blank irreligion. 

How seriously the work was beset with difficulties may 
be gathered from the fact that in the five years from 1854 
to the beginning of 1859 the average annual circulation 
among a population considerably exceeding four and a 
half millions was something less than 8000 copies, while in 
the next five years it did not reach 7000. No more than 
three colporteurs were employed by the Brussels Agency 
— intrepid. God-fearing men, who seemed to multiply them- 
selves as they travelled through the provinces of Brabant; 
Limburg, Liege, Namur, Luxemburg ; who frequented, 
in spite of rebuffs, the military camp at Beverloo ; pene- 
trated the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg ; visited the gay 
parades of Ostend in the bathing season. But, to the praise 
of the native organisations, which had sprung from the 
Society's early efforts, the chief part in the distribution of 
the Scriptures during this trying time was borne by the 
Societe Evangelique Beige, with its depots and from four 
to eight or nine colporteurs, and the Societe Synodale 
d'Evangelisation, which also sent out a Bibleman. These 
were busy for the most part in the mining and manufacturing 


districts, while the Christian Union of Young Men's Associa- 
tions took charge of the shipping at Antwerp, the pastors of 
the small Evangelical churches zealously co-operated, and the 
ministers of the few foreign Protestant congregations, and 
English residents and visitors gave such help as they were 

With the divine blessing, a remarkable impression was 
effected by these restricted means. Even in the agricultural 
provinces of the north, where the old Flemish tongue fell on 
the ear, and fields and farmsteads formed one continuous 
village packed with a bigoted population more densely 
than any other country in Europe,^ the opposition to the 
colporteurs, it was noted in i860, appeared to be gradually 
declining; they were "allowed to sit down" — one indeed 
had on his list over sixty families on whom he could call 
at any time to read and pray, "though these families 
would not yet be willing to receive a Protestant pastor." 
Missionary stations had been opened at Courtrai and Alost, 
congregations formed at Brussels, Ghent, Antwerp, and 
Louvain ; in Bruges itself, where every door used to be 
shut, the messenger of the Gospel found much to encourage 
him. In truth it seemed as though the day were breaking 
in Flanders as it had broken in the Walloon provinces. A 
still more significant fact, perhaps, was the appearance of 
two new translations of the New Testament, authorised by 
the Church of Rome and safeguarded by the usual annota- 
tions. One was a French version by the Abbe Glaire ; the 
other a Flemish, by the learned Professor Beelen of the 
University of Louvain ; but, unhappily, even these editions 
aroused but little interest among the masses of the popula- 
tion. Meanwhile some of the Society's most beautiful issues 
of the French Scriptures were printed at Brussels, and an 
Ostervald Bible had been published for the first time in 
1861 with marginal references. 

1 The population of the whole of Belgium was 409 to the square mile in i860 and 
increased to 480 in 1880, 


In 1864 the Society lost a tried and gifted agent in John 
Kirkpatrick. A severe cold which he caught in the dis- 
charge of his duties settled upon his lungs, and within a few 
weeks he passed away at the early age of forty-one. His 
younger brother, William Henry, readily consented to fill the 
vacancy until suitable arrangements could be made. The 
principles and methods of the Society were familiar to him. 
As a lad of seventeen he had taken service under Mr Tiddy 
in 1842, and ten years later, on his leaving for other occupa- 
tion in Paris, John had replaced him. In 1865 he accepted 
the permanent position as agent in Brussels, and lived to be 
the doyen of the Society's representatives abroad. For half 
a century the brothers were connected with Bible-work in 
Belgium. They were cadets of the famous old Scottish 
house, the Kirkpatricks of Closeburn,^ one of whom, 
William, was the grandfather of the Empress Eugenie. 
By a strange interweaving of events the brothers were at 
once cousins of the Empress, of the Duke of Alva, and of 
Ferdinand de Lesseps ; and the marriage of William Henry 
to a Van Baerle, whose mother had danced at the memorable 
Waterloo ball, closely related him with the family of the 
hero of Dumas' Black Tulip. 

Long absence quickened the new agent's perception of the 
disastrous inroads of scepticism among the Belgian people. 
He found the country broadly divided into two sections 
— the masses of Roman Catholics, taught to regard the 
Protestant Bible as a pernicious book by a priesthood who 
had recourse to every species of misrepresentation to enforce 
their own authority, and the ever-increasing class of so-called 
Liberals, who claimed liberty of conscience rather as the 
right of unbelief than as the free exercise of religious con- 
viction, who held up the Scriptures to mockery and scorn, and 

' Closeburn Hall, Dumfriesshire, about midway between Thornhill and the 
picturesque Auldgirth Bridge, which Carlyle's father helped to build. One of the 
Kirkpatricks was an associate of Bruce in the slaughter of the Red Comyn. Crichope 
Linn, a wild scene of rocks, thickets, and waterfalls on the estate, gave refuge to the 
Covenanters in the days of persecution. 



whose ultimate doctrine was the negation of all revealed 
truth. Many of the Roman Catholic clergy undoubtedly 
exerted themselves to arrest the advances of infidelity and to 
improve the social condition of the people, but the decadence 
of priestly influence was too obvious to be denied ; and as 
time went on the attention drawn to the growing wealth of 
conventual establishments, the exposure in the law-courts 
of unscrupulous methods used to acquire property for the 
Church, and the attempts at fraudulent miracles widened the 
breach between the nation and the Papacy. 

The Scriptures contained the only effectual remedy for 
this distracted condition of society, and, standing aloof from 
all controversies, Mr Kirkpatrick applied his energies to the 
task of a more fruitful distribution. Like every lover of the 
Bible, he knew that men had been led to Christ by a single 
Gospel, by a solitary text, and in 1864 he decided that large 
supplies of the Book of Psalms and the four Evangelists 
should be issued for circulation. The results fully justified 
the experiment. Since 1855 the number of Portions sold 
had not amounted to 1000 ; in the next ten years no fewer 
than 75,800 copies were scattered over Belgium. Among 
the ignorant and superstitious, it is true, the little books, 
especially the Gospel of St John, were too often bought 
merely as talismans and charms. St Mark was an amulet 
against king's-evil, but St John, which might be used in 
divination for the discovery of lost and stolen property, for 
omens as to absent friends, was a specific in sickness and 
a protection in thunderstorms. On this account, indeed, 
English friends demurred to the separate publication of St 
John's Gospel ; but Mr Kirkpatrick's answer was the applica- 
tion of the words of St Paul : "Whether in pretence or in 
truth, Christ is preached ; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and 
will rejoice." The colporteur, too, was quick to see his 
chance with these credulous people. "There are only three 
keys which this Gospel will turn," he said at Charleroi, when 



a man asked to be taught divination by key-turning. " Only 
three! The Cure of Crompfistu can make any key turn." 
The first key, the Bibleman explained, is that which unlocks 
a heart of stone ; the second admits to the arms which we 
need to war against sin ; the third, at death, opens the 
Kingdom of Heaven. " He listened attentively to all I had 
to say, and at last bought a Bible." And time gave proof 
that these small Portions led to the reading of many a 
Testament and the purchase of many a complete copy of 
the Scriptures. 

Ample grants of Bibles and Testaments were voted to 
meet the needs of schools and chapels ; the discount to the 
Evangelical Society was increased from 35 per cent, to 
50 per cent. ; the agency was authorised to enlarge its 
colportage, and a staff of six men was speedily in the 
field, distributing an average of nearly 7000 copies a year. 
Unhappily, in 1864 the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg was 
closed against the Society. For five years that region of 
almost medieval Romanism had been regularly visited, 
and some knowledge of the Scriptures had been spread in 
spite of the opposition of the clergy and the press ; but, 
although the King of Holland was Grand Duke, the 
Duchy had its independent Ministry and Legislature ; the 
Ultramontanes were in power ; the colporteur's licence was 
revoked, and, with the exception of a small almanac, the 
hawking of every kind of book, pamphlet, or newspaper 
was prohibited. 

But the true measure of the progress of the Bible cause 
in these years was furnished by the quiet expansion of a 
flourishing Protestant communion, very many of whose 
members had abjured Popery and testified by their lives 
that an inward change had made them new creatures in 
the Lord Jesus. In August 1865, and again in May 1867, 
Mr Tiddy visited Belgium. Thirty years before, when he 
was appointed to the Brussels Agency, all that survived of 


the once prosperous churches of the Reformation was the 
small congregations at Maria Hoorebecke in Flanders, 
Dour near Mons, and Rongy in the marsh region south 
of Tournai — descendants of the few families who clung to 
their faith through the fire of persecution. These little 
groups, in all about eight hundred souls, represented the 
native Protestantism in the country.^ In 1865 he met in 
conference the delegates of twenty churches and mission- 
stations, nineteen of which traced their existence to the 
seed sown by the Society, and addressed a gathering 
which included eighteen ministers of the Gospel, four 
evangelists, and ten colporteurs, besides nine or ten school- 
masters and schoolmistresses. There were sixteen schools 
in which the Bible was taught daily, and no fewer than 
112,000 tracts and books were circulated yearly by the 
Evangelical Society, which had already expended over 
;^ 70, 000 for the spiritual good of the country. Two years 
later, when he attended the annual observances, he was 
taken to villages where in his day there were no congrega- 
tions and the Word of God was even unknown ; spoke at 
meetings packed with grimy miners straight from the pits 
or with villagers who had come from miles round through 
the wet ; was welcomed by nearly four hundred people at 
Paturages, one of his first fields of labour ; preached at 
Dour, where the good old Pastor de Visme had just died 
after fifty years' ministry,^ and found at Wasmes, hard by, 

' There were four churches of foreign Protestants ; these were in the large towns. 
Maria Hoorebecke was originally one of seven communities, of which Oudenarde was 
the centre — "the Churches of the Olive," composed of Waldensian refugees who, in 
the days of trouble, hid themselves in the wood which still goes by the name of 
Guensenwald (Gensa's Wood), and there met for worship under cover of darkness. 
There had been a regular succession of pastors from the sixteenth century, and after 
the accession of Leopold I. {1831), the church was recognised by the Government, and 
an annual stipend of 1200 francs granted to the incumbent. A similar recognition 
was extended to the churches at Dour and Rongy ; and the three constituted the 
National Reformed Church. In 1872 Colporteur Van Helden, who was stationed at 
Maria Hoorebecke, was shown by an old woman of eighty a Bible printed in 1553, 
and her grandfather's New Testament, which he used to hide in the poultry-yard, 
stained, damaged, and with lost pages supplied in her own hand-writing. Hers was 
the fourth generation, she told him, which read the Bible daily. 

" As late as 1 750 Gilles Laurent, in whose house the few remaining Protestants 


that the chapel, the opening of which he had attended in 
1 85 1, was too small for its regular congregation. 

These annual meetings, at which the claims of the Society 
were advocated, were frequently attended by the Rector of 
Witchampton, the Rev. C. Bailhaehe, another member of 
Committee, and, at a later date, by one or other of the 
District-secretaries. They led to church excursions among 
the hills and fields, and open-air preachings, which some- 
times drew together the whole village as friendly and 
attentive listeners ; and thus a knowledge of the Bible was 
spread, and a better feeling awakened towards those by 
whom it was distributed. The character and conduct of 
these exemplary men went far to dissipate prejudice, and 
we hear of one of them, Gazan, who a year or two before 
had been refused home-room in Louvain, filling his windows 
with pots of flowers given him during his journeys by those 
who had learned to esteem and regard him. 

In 1869 the proceedings of the Vatican Council caused 
a great sensation in Belgium. "One would say that 
Catholicism had received new life." Colportage became 
more difficult, though actual sales showed no decrease. 
"Infallibility" was on every tongue, but observers who 
looked for a revival of religious fervour saw but a rekindling 
of party spirit ; and indeed in 1870 the Clericals were again 
returned to power. Within a few weeks, however, every- 
thing was forgotten in the panic and danger of the Franco- 
Prussian war. As the troops were hurried forward to guard 
the frontier, the colporteurs took the field. When thousands 
of French flung themselves across the neutral border and 

gathered for worship, was denounced by the priests, thrown into prison, dragged at a 
horse's tail, and banished. He died of exhaustion on the road, not far from Dour. 
These Protestants had but one Bible, which escaped the inquisitors of "bad books" 
by being hidden in a hole in the wall and covered by the picture of a saint. In 1786 
the surviving "heretics" requested a French pastor, J. de Visme, to visit them. 
Twice he was thrown into prison, and ran great risk of his life. In 1817 his son 
became their pastor, and shortly afterwards held regular services at P^turages, Mons, 
and La Bouverie. He was among the warmest and most zealous friends of the 
Society, and had formed, indeed, a Bible Association at Dour before Mr Tiddy's 


some hundreds of German prisoners and wounded arrived 
from Sedan, the work of distribution was aided by several 
pastors and a number of ladies who visited the ambulances. 
With few exceptions the work met with no obstruction, 
and the Biblemen wer6 allowed to hold services for the 
Protestants among the sick, wounded, and prisoners. The 
sales of the year amounted to 21,750 copies, of which some 
9000 were required for war purposes by the National Society 
of Scotland.^ Between 8000 and 9000 more were distributed 
gratis by Mr Kirkpatrick's men. It was but a fraction of 
the vast aggregate dispersed among the contending forces, 
and indeed but a small portion of the agency's own efforts. 
Over 120,000 copies were despatched in various directions 
from the Brussels depot, making the unprecedented total of 
152,000 volumes of Scripture disseminated in one year from 
a single centre. In addition to these heavy labours, Mr 
Kirkpatrick hastened to France to retrieve the affairs of 
the Society. M. de Pressense had died at the height of 
the disastrous confusion. Travelling was perilous — in fact 
he was once arrested as a spy, though happily his papers 
secured his speedy release at headquarters — but an essential 
piece of service was deftly accomplished. Singular inter- 
play of the designs of Providence, which brought within 
the same narrow compass of time and place two descendants 
of the ancient house of Closeburn, one as an imperial 
fugitive, the other as an agent of the Bible Society ! 

From the year of the war the circulation showed a 
distinct though fluctuating tendency to expansion. In 1874 
a successful application was made for entrance to the Grand 
Duchy of Luxemburg, where Dr Neumarker was the solitary 
Protestant pastor ; a depot was opened, and an experienced 
man was detailed to the district, but two years had scarcely 
passed before the privilege was again withdrawn, and all 

' The Scottish Society entered into alliance with the Belgian Evangelical, which 
was thus enabled to give effective development to its system of evangelist-colporteurs. 


subsequent attempts to remove the prohibition were thwarted. 
Otherwise colportage fell upon better times, though one of 
the best men went through eighty-six towns and villages 
and in fifty-eight could sell no more than from two to ten 
copies, and here and there much mischief was done by good 
but thoughtless persons who went so far in their gratuitous 
distributions as to throw handfuls of Scriptures in at railway 
carriage windows. 

In 1877 the agency began operations among the emigrants 
and sea -faring population of Antwerp. Excellent service 
had been rendered by the Union of Young Men and the 
Norwegian and Danish Seamen's Societies, but the opening 
of the Scheldt to the commerce of the world in 1863 had 
converted the insalubrious port of 73,000 inhabitants into a 
stately and healthy metropolis of considerably over 200,000. 
In 1879 Belgium was split into two great camps whose 
rival war-cries were Religion and Liberty — "religion without 
the Gospel, liberty without a God." The Liberals, once 
more settled in power, determined to make an end of the 
prerogative of school inspection, choice of school-books, 
appointment of teachers, right of veto on Government and 
commune grants — in a word, the supreme control of education 
so long held by the Church of Rome. The priests were at 
once in arms against a measure designed "to tear from our 
faithful and laborious population the consolations and hopes 
of religion." The Bill was passed ; the clergy retaliated 
by refusing the sacraments to all connected with the State 
schools ; the Liberals demanded the stoppage or reduction 
of their stipends ; excommunication emptied the churches 
and dismayed no one ; and the conflict was at its height 
when the period closed.^ The movement bore directly on 
the Society's work, but, as a party, the Secularists were as 

^ A large proportion of the population was still illiterate. Out of 8917 recruits 
who joined the army in 1882, 2437 (over 25 per cent.) could not write ; and of 6480 
who could, 2433 failed to answer the question : " Did Moses live before or after 
Jesus Christ ? " And what a question to ask ! 

i884] A TROUBLED TIME 295 

antagonistic to the Bible cause as the Romanists themselves. 
The God of the Bible was blasphemed as ' ' the source of all 
our misery and the cause of all our despair." Free-thought 
corrupted the living, and buried the dead without a hope or 
a prayer. 

The one cheering aspect of the time was the spread of 
evangelical truth, seen in the formation of new churches, 
in the secession from Rome of a whole congregation,^ in 
the evidence that many who made no outward change read 
and believed the Scriptures, in the founding of a training 
college for Flemish evangelists alone by Pastor de Jonge 
(in 1879), and the introduction of an admirable system of 
missionary schools by Pastor Leonard Anet (in 1880). "It 
was even suggested by men of eminence that it would 
greatly tend to the advantage of Belgium to embrace 
Protestantism and throw off all connection with Rome " ; 
and once or twice Bibles and Testaments were bought — and 
sold to the people too — by old curis, and the colporteur 
was asked to call at the priest's house, "for I never before 
heard these things spoken of in this way." 

Eighteen-eighty was the jubilee year of Belgian Inde- 
pendence — that fortunate issue of a haphazard revolt, the 
train of which was fired by a spirit - stirring performance 
of Auber's Masaniello. A place was denied the Society's 
versions at the Brussels National Exhibition ; sales in the 
grounds were forbidden ; outside the gates little interest was 
taken in the books offered by the colporteur; but 65,000 
Portions, and in the following year 35,850 more, supplied 
at a nominal price, were gratuitously distributed through the 
post from the Crystal Palace Bible-stand. As a memorial 
of the national celebration 1450 New Testaments, inscribed 
with the text, "The truth shall make you free," were 
presented to the Sunday-school children of the Protestant 

' At Sart-Dame-Avelines, 


At the close of the period we leave the agency making 
steady progress in its undertakings, and Mr Kirkpatrick 
in command of men whose demeanour had turned many 
enemies into friends. Old artillery-sergeant Stynders had 
served twenty-seven years ; Deboulle and Gazan, nineteen 
(DebouUe, whose Roman Catholic neighbours had shown 
him much kindness in sickness; Gazan, no longer "a 
disguised Jew," but a welcome guest at many tables) ; 
Hardy, seventeen ; Delplace (a tall man with long beard and 
white hair, whom school children had once been taught to 
revile as "the wicked sorcerer"), seventeen; Van Helden, 
who had fifteen to twenty people at family worship on a 
Sunday morning, eleven. The latest additions to the staff 
were Napp (six years), and John Ham the Englishman, 
who had spent three years about the ships and docks and 
seamen's lodgings at Antwerp. 

In addition to the labours of management Mr Kirkpatrick 
began in 1868 the revision of the Ostervald Bible. The 
result was submitted to the judgment of the Bible Society 
of France, and adopted by the London Committee. 
Martin's translation was similarly revised. In collabora- 
tion with Dr William Wright, he prepared for the press 
an edition of De Sacy with alternative readings in 1878, and 
in 1882 collated the Brussels editions with the folio of 1759. 
In Belgium as in other Roman Catholic countries experience 
had placed it beyond controversy that Vulgate versions were 
in certain conditions both indispensable and efficacious. 
Though French was the official tongue, Flemish had always 
been that of the common people, and some three millions 
spoke nothing else. The genius of Hendrik Conscience 
gave an impetus to the revival of the speech of the soil ; 
in 1873 it was prescribed in the Flemish law-courts, in 1883 
taught in the schools, and finally recognised as on an equal 
footing with French. In 1877 an orthographic revision, 
with alternative readings, of the Louvain Flemish New 


Testament (a Vulgate version by De Witte, 17 17) was 
published by Mr Matthyssen of Antwerp ; and with his 
assistance Pastor de Jonge of the Flemish National Church 
began a fresh translation direct from the Greek. The 
Gospels of St Matthew, St Luke, St John, St Mark and the 
Acts appeared before the period ended, and with these 
matters Mr Kirkpatrick was also closely connected. 

During the thirty years 513,479 copies of Scripture were 
distributed,^ and over two-thirds of these in the last fifteen. 
The proportion of Flemish to French issues does not appear, 
but during the interval the Society's circulation of Flemish 
editions in all quarters was 172,725 copies. The expenditure 
for the period was £93, 1 76 ; and, apart from a legacy of 
;^400, small annual collections, and occasional donations, 
the receipts amounted to ;;^i6, iii.^ 

Altogether, from the establishment of the agency, 716,344 
Bibles, Testaments, and Portions had been dispersed over 
Belgium. A considerable achievement, but it represented 
no more than a beginning in the vast work of distribution. 
Those who professed Protestantism were still a very small 
minority ; numbering less than one in three hundred, or 
fifteen thousand in a population of five and a half millions ; 
ten thousand fewer than the monks and nuns alone, for 
although the Church of Rome, which owned nearly three- 
fourths of the landed estates in the eighteenth century, held 
now less than one per cent, the religious Orders had in- 
creased, since 1829, from 280 houses with 4790 members, to 
1 559 houses with 25,360.^ Such was the condition of things 
when the Belgian Agency entered on its jubilee year. 

1 Exclusive of nearly three-quarters of a million despatched to other agencies. 

^ These figures include ;^22,795 expenditure and ^7078 receipts for the years 
1854 and 1855, when Belgium, Holland, and Cologne were grouped in one account. 
From 1856 to 1884 the expenditure for Belgium alone was ;^70,38l, and the receipts 
;^9033, or 1 2 '8 per cent. 

^ Smythe, 7'Ae Story of Belgium, p. 324. 



In the Jubilee Year, as we have seen, Mr Tiddy was suc- 
ceeded in the Netherlands by his assistant, Lambertus Van 
der Bom, though it was not until 1866 that the latter was 
formally appointed an independent agent. Besides the head- 
quarters at Amsterdam, there was a sub-depot at Rotterdam ; 
and five colporteurs carried the Word of God through nine 
provinces of that curious stork-and-tulip country, in which 
old emblazoned towns fallen into decay, picture-villages, 
and gaily-coloured inland shipping gave a singular interest 
to the leagues of level pastures, bosky polder-farms, grassy 
dykes, windmills and netted water-ways. In name Holland 
was Protestant, and, remembering its blood-stained annals, 
no country in Christendom had better cause to be so in 
reality ; but there was a large Roman Catholic population, 
which was steadily increasing through intermarriage and 
the energetic action of its priesthood, while on many of 
the clergy of the Reformed Churches had fallen the blight 
of rationalism and an apathetic unbelief, and the infection 
had spread to their people. In North Brabant, Guelderland, 
Utrecht, the Bible was regarded with widespread indiffer- 
ence ; in the poor and marshy districts of Groningen and 
Friesland few even attended public worship — "they had no 
confidence in their ministers, who indeed troubled themselves 
but very seldom about them." For three years, during 
which the figures scarcely varied, the average circulation of 



the Scriptures in a population of something over 3,000,000, 
was 20,600 copies. 

Suddenly, in the fourth year — 1857-58 — the circulation 
rose to 23,000 odd. The Government had excluded the 
Bible from the public elementary schools, but by the 
blessing of God parents had awakened to the spiritual 
needs of their children, and that triumph of irreligion was 
made the starting-point of a revival which developed, without 
heat or excitement or intermission, for thirty years. A 
movement was begun for the founding of schools in which 
the Word of Life should be recognised as the basis of 
education. Ever ready to co-operate, the Committee granted 
2500 volumes to ten schools in 1858, nearly 3000 to thirty 
in i860, and so on, year after year, as their help was required. 
The number of schools quickly increased ; every six or eight 
years a new generation passed through them in hundreds, 
in thousands, in tens of thousands, — grew up, and in course 
of time, as we shall see, leavened the nation with a renewed 
faith. With equal liberality assistance was given to the 
various evangelical missions and agencies engaged in the 
propagation of Gospel truth, and it was pleasant to note 
the effect of the Society's gifts in the growth of Sunday 
schools and evening meetings for the reading of the Scrip- 
tures and in the spontaneous donations which came from 
friends in token of their grateful appreciation. 

By a happy coincidence a large-type Dutch reference 
Bible was issued in 1857, and 1600 copies were sold in a 
few months. It was five-and-twenty years since the Nether- 
lands Bible Society had published any Bible with references, 
and the rare copies of former editions, printed in old German 
type, were to be had only at high prices. 

In May i860 an attempt at colportage was made in 
Limburg, an unexplored province as notorious for its in- 
fidelity as for its fanaticism. The poor Bibleman met with 
brutal treatment. The priests preached against him, and 

3op HOLLAND [•^54- 

threatened to withhold absolution from all who bought his 
books. Copies were snatched out of his hands and torn to 
shreds ; he was assailed with dirt and stones, and struck 
insensible to the ground amid furious cries of "Trample him 
to death ! " But insults, threats, violence, refusal of food and 
lodging had little effect on the courageous Van Veen. By 
1863, when as a measure of protection a colleague was sent 
to travel with him, he had sold 2077 copies ; by 1867, when 
he died — his life, it would seem, shortened by ill-usage — he 
had circulated 7225 volumes in seven years. After his death 
those who had most bitterly opposed him testified to the 
worth of his character and the devotedness of his service, but 
their praise of his virtues did not insure a less hostile recep- 
tion for his successor. Faith and constancy, however, pro- 
duced a striking change in the intolerance of Maestricht ; at 
Valkenburg and Zwalme, Weert, and Meersen many were 
brought to a true knowledge of the Saviour ; and much seed 
was scattered before the colporteur was withdrawn, in 1870, 
to the more promising district of Breda. 

A grant of j£^o was voted in 1862 to an Institution which 
had been formed in Rotterdam for the purpose of providing 
Scriptures for the blind, and this was but the first of a series 
which amounted in 1875 to ;^i59. In 1863 the Committee 
placed 500 volumes at the disposal of two missionaries about 
to be sent to Surinam by the Society for the Emancipation of 
Slaves in the Dutch West Indies. Slavery had just ceased 
in these possessions, but the Emancipation Society, instead 
of dissolving, had decided to continue its efforts in the cause 
of a higher enfranchisement. Similar encouragement was 
extended to the German Home Mission at Rotterdam, and 
the Dutch Evangelical Society at the Hague. 

The jubilee of the Netherlands Bible Society was cele- 
brated in August 1864. It now numbered twenty - one 
branches with six thousand members, and in addition to the 
translations which it had promoted in the languages of the 


Dutch colonies in the East, it had circulated during the half 
century of its operations nearly 1,000,000 copies of the Word 
of God. 

A fresh impulse was given to the " Bible" school move- 
ment in 1865 by an awakening which had taken place in the 
Lutheran Church, and the Committee readily added to their 
grant list five new schools with seven hundred children. 
This and similar acts of helpfulness met with a warm 
response. At Francken and at Delft — Pepys's " most sweet 
town, with bridges and a river in every street " — the young 
people collected among themselves 34 florins {£2, i6s. 8d.) ; 
older friends became interested, and altogether over ;£^i4i 
was contributed to the building fund of the new Bible House. 

To these days belongs "the little lighted window of 
Rotterdam "; and this was how it came to be lit. Isaac Van 
Dorp, the veteran colporteur, lived in Rotterdam, and his 
house, like those of some of his colleagues, served as a kind 
of depot. Every one knew him ; many encouraged his work 
— people of his own class. Then came a person of some 
rank, who set such store by the Bible that even a single 
word from the sacred page might, he thought, be blessed 
to the saving of souls. "In consequence," wrote Van 
Dorp, "he was desirous that I should place an open Bible 
in my window, and that at night there should be a candle 
beside it, so that the passers-by might be able to read it. 
If I would agree to carry out his suggestion he would bear 
all the cost. I consented ; and ever since, both by day and 
by night, there are people standing at my window reading 
the open Bible." Van Dorp was now an old man, — had been 
born at Rotterdam, son of a builder of small craft, three-and- 
seventy years before. He gave himself to Christ when he 
was twenty-six ; read the Scriptures and taught among the 
Christian folk of his own city, and long bore testimony in 
Kralingen village, until at last a faithful minister filled once 
more its empty church. For some time he was a lamp-lighter 

302 HOLLAND [1854- 

in Rotterdam, and was often seen kindling the lamps, in 
company with some awakened sinner who wished for private 
talk with him as to the way of salvation. In 1844 he entered 
the service of the Society. On his first journey beyond the 
city, " What ! " exclaimed a miller, glancing at his knapsack, 
"do I see you a postman now?" "Yes, and I have a letter 
for you ; twenty-five cents, please," and he offered him a 
New Testament. "I urgently pray you," said Van Dorp, 
as they parted, "to search diligently the contents of the 
volume, for the day of your death is appointed by God." 
Within the week, by one of those strange dispensations 
which thrill us with a sense of divine oversight, the miller 
was killed by a sail of his mill. The apostolic spirit in Van 
Dorp gave him no rest. In 1845, and long afterwards in 
1857, he spent his Sundays for months together among the 
hundreds of navvies who were piling up the embankments 
for the Dutch railways ; his house in the Achter Klooster 
became "as well known as the Groote Kerk of St Lawrence 
or the statue of Erasmus," and when the colportage of the 
day was done he was never too weary to hold meetings, to 
read the Scriptures, or to speak of their priceless message 
to the world. For none of these services would he accept 
remuneration. Collections were made, but it was on the 
clear condition that the money should be spent in Bibles 
and Testaments for the poor, and especially for the school 
children. So the little window in Rotterdam came to be 
lit, and the old callings of lamp -lighter and letter-carrier 
were carried on under the colporteur's humble roof. First 
one and then another bookseller followed the example, and 
day by day in one of the principal streets of Rotterdam a 
leaf of the large "States" Bible ^ was turned for those who 
-stopped to look in at the window. 

Old Isaac Van Dorp ! — his friends had long asked him 
to let them have his portrait, but he had smiled and shaken 

' The standard Dutch Bible, projected by the Synod of Doit in 1618-19, 
published in folio with the sanction and at the expense of the States-General in 1637. 


his head, until they proposed that he should consent for the 
benefit of the new Bible House. He could resist no longer, 
and the result was a contribution of 50 florins {£4, 3s. 4d.) 
to the building fund. 

In 1866 the country was smitten with cattle-plague and 
cholera. The fields were ravaged, and thousands of homes 
were left desolate. For a season at least men's thoughts 
turned to the eternal verities, and though the old manner 
of life was generally resumed when the calamity had passed, 
it seemed as though the influence for good had not been 
altogether transient. In that and the two succeeding years 
the sales of the Biblemen were larger than they had ever 
been, and the men themselves were treated with more 

The Holland Agency completed its first quarter of a 
century in 1869. During the twenty-five years it had 
scattered broadcast 697,045 copies of the Scriptures. It 
had given the first impulse to a renewed spiritual life ; had 
assisted and encouraged every form of evangelistic activity ; 
had brought within the range of its work the Roman Catholic 
and the Jew — two-fifths of the population — when no sys- 
tematic effort had been made by others to spread among them 
the Book of Life. Apathy and infidelity still abounded ; 
in a Protestant land which owed everything to the Bible 
there were still Protestants who opposed its dissemination ; 
but the efforts of ministers and laymen to stem the tide of 
error, the establishment of Christian schools in every direc- 
tion, the increasing number of young men seeking to fit them- 
selves for the service of the Gospel, were so many proofs 
that the Word of the Lord had not returned to Him void. 

Arrangements were now made which gave Mr Van der 
Bom more time to visit his colportage areas, to note condi- 
tions and opportunities, to enter into closer relations with 
the Churches, and to enlist the sympathies of influential 
people. The effect of this personal intercourse was immediate. 

304 HOLLAND [i8S4- 

especially in the matter of financial support. Hitherto free 
gifts had been small and haphazard — ;^56i between 1855 
and 1869, including a legacy of ;^i66 and the contribution 
for the new Bible House. In the next fifteen years the 
amount raised in large and regular donations was ;^I589. 
Similarly, though here there was a confluence of causes, 
the circulation, which had slowly advanced from 109,000 to 
119,000, now leapt up to 165,000 and closed with 173,000 
in 1883-84. 

In that interval of steady progress there happened many 
things of which we must take note. 

The International Exhibition at Amsterdam was held 
in the summer of 1869, but the directors showed little 
respect for the Bible. Every facility was denied, and crowds 
went away empty-handed ; still, in spite of disfavour, 1 100 
copies of the Scripture were sold and 2700 Gospels were 
distributed gratis. 

It was about this time that the Scottish Bible Society 
entered the field, and in the course of its work a part of its 
supplies was drawn from the Amsterdam depot. 

On the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war, when 
several thousands of troops were massed along the frontiers 
of Holland, five of the six colporteurs visited the barracks, 
camps, and forts. Their reception by the military authorities 
was in general most friendly, and they met with few checks 
which were not balanced by pleasant surprises. "At 
Gronichen," wrote one of the men, "a Roman Catholic 
major most materially assisted me, whereas at Nijmegen a 
Protestant colonel did all in his power to frustrate my 
plans." The Limburgers were as bitterly hostile as ever, 
but elsewhere the books were received with emotion and 
thankfulness. Over 23,700 copies — for the most part New 
Testaments and Portions — were distributed. 

In 1872 we find the little window still alight in 
Rotterdam; but for four years gas-jets have taken the 


place of the candle, and a widow lady now pays the 

In December 1873 the Scriptures were supplied to the 
expedition embarking for the long war in Achin. 

After thirty-one years' service Mr Van der Bom was 
called to his rest in the spring of 1875. Growing infirmities 
had latterly disabled him from active employment, but with 
his son's assistance he had fulfilled the duties of his office. 
One of his last acts was a renewed application to the railway 
companies for leave to put the Bible in their waiting-rooms. 
The reply was a curt ' ' Not rational " from one company, 
and a "Likely to cause ill-feeling among the passengers" 
from another. He was succeeded by Mr H. J. Reesse, 
whose responsibilities were lightened by an admirable staff 
of colporteurs. Old Van Dorp, in his eighty-third year, 
was still busy, distributing his 3000 or 4000 copies "with 
all the freshness of youth " ; two other veterans, Ornee and 
Smit, were completing their thirtieth and twenty-seventh 
years of Bible-work, while the three younger men had 
caught the spirit of their seniors. 

The true morning was now at length beginning to break 
on Holland. In the summer of 1876, at an immense mis- 
sionary meeting held in the open air near Velzen, the cause 
of the Society was pleaded with impassioned eloquence by 
a young minister, who described its origin in the days 
of destitution and its labours in many lands and tongues, 
and boldly claimed for it not only the support of his vast 
audience, but the allegiance of all kindred institutions. 
The appeal struck a deep chord in the hearts of the people, 
who had grown weary of the frigid and sceptical subtleties 
of the Rationalist teachers.^ A lay and clerical association 
for the purpose of colportage was set on foot in the following 
year by the evangelical party in the Reformed Church, and 

1 At this time, though the orthodox party were increasing in strength, there were 
two hundred and thirty congregations for which evangelical ministers were being 


3o6 HOLLAND ['854- 

as the Netherlands Bible Society had, unhappily, lost the 
confidence of its best supporters by adopting the Neologist 
Testament issued by the Synod of the Dutch Church, it was 
decided to obtain supplies from the agency. Mr Reesse 
received more than one offer from clergymen to accompany 
his colporteurs, take out regular licences, and assist in the 
work ; and, after long delay, even the committee of the 
Netherlands Society came to acknowledge the value of 

Zeal was redoubled by another wanton attack on educa- 
tion. For over twenty years the "Bible" schools had held 
their ground, when suddenly in 1878 a Bill which threatened 
their very existence was passed by both Houses of Parlia- 
ment. The King was implored to interpose ; but if the 
monster petition, signed by 304,000 adults and representing 
1,500,000 of the Protestant population, failed to move the 
Government, it roused the people to the defence of the 
Divine Book. Large quantities of the Scriptures were 
purchased by wealthy men and women for distribution 
among the working classes ; pastors bestirred themselves 
on behalf of the poor in their congregations ; Young Men's 
Christian Associations, a new Tract Society, and similar 
bodies threw themselves into the movement. The "well- 
remembered day in August when all Christian teaching was 
abolished " was set apart for a yearly national collection in 
support of the Bible schools. In 1879, ;^35oo was raised ; 
;^7ooo in 1880; ;^8ooo in 1881 ; ;^9000 in 1882; and this 
was but a small part of the sacrifices made to maintain 
about 400 schools with nearly 80,000 scholars. The Bible 
schools cost the Christian people of Holland little less 
than ;;^ 1 20,000 per annum. 

Meanwhile, with high hearts, the staff of the agency 
pursued their labours. For the first time the colporteur 
waded ashore from his lugger to the lonely North Sea 
islands — the broken fragments of what was the ancient 


coast in the days of Tacitus, when Vlie Stream flowed 
between Terschelling and Vlieland, and forest and fresh- 
water meres covered the site of the Zuyder Zee. He 
landed, too, on "the green raft" of Marken — Krimp was 
the man — and clambered up the high ladders to the pretty 
blue-red-black-and-green villages built for safety on the 
tops of the pile-mounds. A kindly race, these Marken 
women in their embroidered white mitres, flowered bodices, 
and dark blue skirts ; ' ' they hesitated to take a large New 
Testament at so low a price as twenty-five cents, and ten 
of them willingly paid me thirty, so that I was able to 
give copies to two young men who were too poor to buy." 
Ornee was in the northern provinces (his only daughter 
fading away in consumption at home) ; Geus in the south- 
west, telling of the brazen serpent and the thief on the 
cross to the navvies employed on the new water-way from 
the Maas ; ^ Van Dorp still in Rotterdam — eighty-seven 
now, a little shaky in the hands, a little less alert of 
hearing, but "blessed with untiring zeal and an iron 

The total circulation of the agency reached the million in 
March 1879. Since 1815 the Netherlands Bible Society had 
distributed 1,386,181 copies. Between them 2,418,000 copies 
had been dispersed throughout Holland. 

After some weeks of prayer and song and meditation in 
the house of the lighted window. Van Dorp died in great 
joy on the 4th January 1880. He had suffered a slight 
stroke of apoplexy on the last Sunday of November while 
entering the Home for Incurables, but had recovered 
sufficiently to read a chapter and give his usual Sunday 
address, and that was his last public service. No fewer 
than 136,000 Bibles and Testaments had passed through 

1 More than that. He pleaded for the poor place with several influential people, 
and within a few months a church was built, between eighty and ninety children were 
gathered in Bible classes, and plans were in progress for a "Bible" school. 

3o8 HOLLAND ['854- 

his hands, and 3855 of these were sold in the closing 
year of his life. 

Illness and failing strength led to Mr Reesse's resigna- 
tion in September 1881. His name was added to the roll 
of Honorary Life Governors, and in the following January 
his place was filled by Henry Grelinger of Diisseldorf, who 
had helped to found the Young Men's Christian Association 
of Amsterdam thirty years before, and who had gained a 
valuable knowledge of the East as a merchant trading with 
Java and other Dutch colonies. Within three weeks the 
first hint of a policy of withdrawal was given. "You 
know," wrote one of the Secretaries, "we should be only 
too glad if the Christian countries of Europe would do 
all the Bible-work they need for themselves and for their 
colonies." At the same time, by a curious coincidence, 
self-help was the theme of a pamphlet issued by the pastor 
of the Christian Reformed Church at Zaandam : " It is a 
shame for the country to be provided by foreigners with 
the fundamentals of our Christian existence." Then came 
the direct question — "Would the Committee allow me to 
consider it my mission to induce the Dutch people to do 
their own Bible-work?" and the answer was equally explicit. 

Rationalism was on the decline ; the Netherlands Bible 
Society had decided to give colportage a trial ; its com- 
mittee was strengthened by an accession of prominent 
Evangelicals ; and in 1883, when Grelinger was giving the 
Christians of Holland "more and more of the financial 
burden of the work to bear," its annual circulation reached 
the highest point yet attained — 52,800 copies. In connec- 
tion with the events of that year there were various signs 
of a high and liberal spirit. At the Amsterdam Exhibition, 
which opened in May, the Society was awarded a gold 
medal for its display of versions ; copies were sold at the 
kiosks in half a dozen languages ; a Russian sailor emptied 
his purse for a New Testament, and a Chinaman brought 5s. 


as a small contribution ; but of the ;;^300 guaranteed for 
the kiosks by the Society only ;^6o was drawn, and the 
rest of the expense was borne by Dutch friends. With a 
special view to the Exhibition Mary Jones and her Bible 
appeared for the first time in a foreign tongue. It was 
published at the expense of the Nijmegen Orphanage, and 
an abridgment was inserted in a Dutch reading-book for 
schools. The translation was the work of Mr Reesse.^ 

On the 15th October, amid a flourish of garlands and 
tricolors, the King and Queen of Holland unveiled in 
Utrecht^ the statue of John of Nassau, the founder of the 
Dutch Union in 1579. "If Count John had been present," 
cried a speaker a few days later, when deputies from all 
parts met for the fifth commemoration of "the well- 
remembered day in August" — "would he have rejoiced? 
Would he not have asked — ' What has become of your 
millions of money? Have you spent them in bringing 
the Word of God into every house?' And the answer 
would have been — ' On the contrary ; this people has spent 
its money to do away with the Word of God.'" Ten 
thousand pounds was subscribed, making in the five years 
a total of ;^37,ooo raised in aid of the "Bible" schools. 

The old brotherhood of colporteurs was breaking up. 
Ornee, who had served forty years, was no longer able 
to go far afield, but he still managed to sell some 3000 
copies through friends in Groningen and Friesland. Smit, 
after thirty-eight years' travelling, could hardly work at all, 
and was doing what he could on retired pay. Krimp, of 
the islands, and another junior had left. De Geus alone 
remained blithe and vigorous. The need for extensive 
colportage had ceased, Grelinger thought. Two new men, 
however, were engaged, — half their salaries and expenses 

' He died in 1887, devoted to the end to the great work of the Society. Mary 
Jones suggested to Mr Grelinger a Dutch version of Gleanings for the Young, which 
Degan at the New Year without any expense to the Society. 

' The chief dep6t had just been moved from Amsterdam to Utrecht. 

3id HOLLAND [1854- 

being provided by friends in Holland ; and North Brabant 
was assigned to the care of a local committee. One notes 
the gradual self-effacement by which it was hoped the Society 
might in time withdraw without injury to the religious life 
of the country. 

As the period closes we are brought into contact with 
the so-called Jansenist Church, in reality the venerable 
though anathematised remnant of the pre - Reformation 
Church of the Netherlands.^ Early in 1883 a labouring 
man called on Mr Grelinger, and reminded him of the 
"Jansenist" New Testament issued by the agency in 1846. 
It had been his daily food, and now that he was growing 
old he wished to give every member of his church a copy. 
What would it cost to print? "Six thousand copies — about 
;^25o." The tears rose in his eyes: "I can spend only 
;^i25," and he went away sad, but not hopeless. The 
Committee undertook the rest. The little volume which 
appeared in 1884 was the good man's viaticum as he lay, not 
long afterwards, on his sick-bed ; and the 6000 copies, dis- 
tributed among the different churches of his communion, 
elicited a letter of "gratitude, high esteem, and faithful 
friendship" from Mgr. John Heykamp, the Archbishop of 

During the thirty years the Bibles, Testaments, and 

' The term "Jansenist" was resented : "We are no more Jansenists than we arE 
Bossuetists or Quesnehsts. We defended Jansen when he was unjustly attacked ; 
but we do not hold by any means all the opinions of Jansen, who, for instance, 
believed in the infallibility of the Pope. ..." See Ditchfield, The Church in the 
Netherlands, for the whole story of Jansenism — a record of scandalous Jesuit 
intrigues. In 1 824 there was no issue as to doctrine or the primacy of Rome ; 
"the only point in question is this," wrote the Archbishop of Utrecht (Van Vos) 
to Leo XII. — "Whether the Batavian Church, which has always maintained its 
hierarchical order, and which has made itself celebrated under the rule and govern- 
ment of its own pastors, should be at once turned into a simple mission at the good 
pleasure of the Curialisls ; so that, if I may thus speak, it should be deprived, by 
one stroke of the pen, of its bishops and cathedral chapters." Cajolery, excom- 
munication, and other devices having failed, a new Roman Catholic hierarchy was 
introduced in 1853, with the sanction of the Government, but in strong opposition 
to the will of the people. It was a subtle stroke of priestcraft, but the Ultramontane 
prelates intruded into newly-created sees do not represent the ancient Church of the 
Netherlands, which has since joined hands with the " Old Catholics " of Germany. 


Portions circulated by the agency numbered 850,689. Of 
these (from i860 onwards) 366,408 passed through the hands 
of the colporteurs, and 49,904 (from 1872) were supplied to 
the Scottish and Netherlands Bible Societies. In addition, 
over 174,000 copies were registered as having been despatched 

From 1857, when separate accounts were first kept for 
Holland, Belgium, and Cologne, the expenditure in con- 
nection with the agency amounted to ;£^8i,425. The receipts 
came to ;^38,956, or 47-8 per cent, of the outlay. 

The aggregate distribution in the Netherlands from the 
establishment of the agency in 1843 was 1,205,167 copies. 

No more than a passing reference has been made to the 
work in Oriental versions accomplished by the Netherlands 
Society. In our survey of the East we shall catch occasional 
glimpses of its translators and of the Dutch missionaries. 



In 1856 the Society resumed its operations in the little sea- 
belted kingdom whose chief glory it was that it had sent 
the first Protestant missionaries to India and Greenland. 
The need of a more abundant supply of the Scriptures in 
Denmark, and of a more effectual distribution throughout 
the islands and mainland, had long weighed on the hearts 
of the Committee. Comparatively little had yet been done 
to make the Bible the book of the people. From its founda- 
tion in 1814 down to 1855 ^he Danish Bible Society had 
distributed no more than 230,256 copies of Scripture, and by 
far the greater number of these had been New Testaments, 
During the twenty-nine years which had elapsed since the 
Apocrypha decision severed its connection with London, 
its circulation had apparently not exceeded 150,000 copies, 
an average of little over 5000 a year. Its work had been 
supplemented, it is true, by the issues .from the Royal 
Orphan House at Copenhagen, but the Orphan House had 
no agents in the provinces, the booksellers charged higher 
prices for the volumes they took for sale, and colportage 
was unknown. Finally, the cost of the Scriptures even in 
the capital was beyond the means of the great mass of the 
population. In most houses a single copy of the New 
Testament might have been found, partly on account of 
the custom of giving the volume to young people at con- 
firmation ; but the Bible was a rarity. 

In their desire to counteract the growing scepticism of the 


[1854-1884] THE ROYAL ORPHAN HOUSE 313 

time the Committee were confronted by a serious difficulty. 
The importation of the Danish Scriptures from abroad was 
prohibited under ruinous penalties ; while in Denmark itself 
the printing of the Word of God was the monopoly of the 
Royal Orphan House,i which restricted its issues to an 
annotated version containing the apocryphal books in the 
Old Testament and marginal references to them in the 
New. Happily a compromise was effected in the summer 
of 1855, when Mr Knolleke, the assistant foreign secretary, 
laid before the directors of the Orphan House a proposal for 
an edition of the New Testament without notes or references 
to the Apocrypha. Their consent was given, and forthwith 
a small agency committee, with the Rev. N. P. Gronberg 
as secretary, was formed to represent the Society in Denmark. 
The edition left the press two years later, and so 
eager was the demand that impressions of 10,000 and 20,000 
were ordered in rapid succession. A depot had been 
opened in Copenhagen ; circular letters had been sent to 
every Danish-speaking parish in the kingdom and to many 
of the landed proprietors both in Denmark and Sleswick ; 
a colporteur was engaged ; pastors and schoolmasters made 
application for copies ; in some country places small dis- 
tributing associations were formed ; orders came in from 
a number of booksellers ; and among the earliest patrons of 
the agency was the good Queen-Dowager Caroline Amalie, 
who thenceforth provided regularly for the needs of the 
school for poor girls which she had founded and the asylum 

' The growth of this monopoly is curious. In 1714 the Danish Government 
appointed a Missionary Committee, which was authorised to print and sell the Holy 
Scriptures. A little later, on the founding of the Royal Orphan House, which was 
licensed to print and sell books, the Missionary Committee became directors of the 
institution, and naturally printed the Scriptures at the Orphan House press. Early 
in the twenties a General Church Inspection Committee was appointed, and the 
integrity of the sacred text was intrusted to its censorship. Thenceforth the position 
of the directors of the Orphan House was that of printers and publishers of the 
Bible, and in 1740 they secured for the institution the exclusive privilege of holding 
that position. Subsequently, on the dissolution of the General Church Inspection 
Committee, the directors of the Orphan House assumed unlimited jurisdiction in the 
matter of Bible publication. The result of the monopoly was ' ' imperfect editions, 
high prices, and a short supply." 


in Roskilde. In three and a half years over 24,000 
copies had been sold, and already it was noted that both 
in the capital and in country districts numerous meetings 
were being held for the reading and explanation of the 

But if such striking progress was made it was not 
because the way had been free from difficulties. On revisit- 
ing Denmark in i860 Mr Knolleke found that objections were 
raised to the omission of the references and marginal readings 
which appeared in the Orphan House issues ; that many 
persons — among them two of the bishops — were strongly 
averse to any foreign interference in their affairs, whether 
political or religious ; and that a section of the clergy 
opposed the work as uncalled-for, as more likely indeed 
to do harm than good, by leading the people from the 
living word of the preacher. These specious contentions 
were silently swept aside by the new life which was awaken- 
ing in the hearts of the people themselves. 

A further concession had in the meanwhile been obtained 
from the Orphan House. The Book of Psalms — the only 
edition of the kind at that date — appeared in 1861, and at 
once became a favourite volume in Danish homes.^ By the 
beginning of 1863 the circulation of the agency had reached 
a total of 58,545 copies. Special arrangements had been 
made on behalf of the military ; among the shipping and 
in the poorer quarters of Copenhagen five colporteurs were 
at work under the direction of the Moravian pastor ; and a 
newly formed Church Association for Home Missions had 
established stations in Zealand, Fiinen, and East Jiitland, 
which rendered valuable service. 

It was a memorable year in Danish annals. The marriage 
of the Prince of Wales and Princess Alexandra was 
solemnised in March : in December the sudden death of 

' Both for the New Testament and the Psalter the full price was paid to the 
Orphan House, but where it was needful, as in the case of soldiers, the books were 
sold at reduced prices. 


Frederick VII. was the signal for a renewal of the Sleswick- 
Holstein trouble. Of the war which followed, and of the 
part taken by the representatives of the Society among the 
troops, some account has already been given. ^ In Denmark 
the circulation in 1864 amounted to little less than 22,000 
copies of the New Testament and the Psalms, and the 
aggregate for the nine years stood at 99,406. 

From the beginning, however, it had been the wish of 
the Committee to place the complete Bible within reach of 
the entire population, and in 1863 an application was laid 
before the Orphan House for an edition excluding the 
Apocrypha. The^ reply was a definite refusal, which the 
Committee considered it advisable to challenge ; but an 
appeal to the Minister for Ecclesiastical Affairs produced 
no satisfactory result, though it was acknowledged that the 
object of the Society was much to be desired. In 1866 the 
printing of New Testament Portions was conceded, but the 
Committee's proposal for a New Testament with marginal 
references to the canonical books alone caused some demur 
as a questionable departure from the standard of the Orphan 
House. Even after the directors had been induced to forego 
their objections and the undertaking had been begun, fresh 
difficulties were started, and it was only after long delay and 
vexatious negotiation that the edition was allowed to proceed. 
By this time, however, a strong feeling of dissatisfaction at 
the ungracious and arbitrary manner in which the directors 
seemed to be exercising their authority was finding expression 
at diocesan meetings and in the public press. 

After ten years' service as secretary of the Copenhagen 
Committee the Rev. N. P. Gronberg left Denmark, and on 
the I St October 1865 the Rev. John Plenge, who had been 
chaplain of the Danish church in London, entered on his 
duties as the regular agent of the Society. Finding that 
little was to be expected from the consideration of the Orphan 

^ Chap, viii, p. lOO. 


House directors, he advised the Committee to approach the 
King^ for permission to import a quantity of Danish Bibles 
which had been printed at Cologne for distribution in the 
Duchy of Sleswick. A memorial was sent through Lord 
Shaftesbury ; the petition was supported by the Minister for 
Ecclesiastical Affairs ; and his Majesty readily consented on 
the understanding that the Orphan House should receive a 
royalty on every copy. The books arrived in 1868, and in 
a few months the whole 2500 volumes were bought up, and 
large orders were left unexecuted. A new edition was begun 
at Cologne, and a second memorial was presented by Mr 
Plenge, who was most graciously received by the King. 
His Majesty had made himself acquainted with the subject, 
and after expressing his astonishment at the liberality with 
which the Society had provided for the spiritual needs of 
his people, admitted that it was better they should have a 
Bible without the Apocrypha than no Bible at all. Permission 
was granted for another 2500 on the same terms, and the 
directors of the Orphan House reduced the , price of their 
own Bibles from 9s. to 4s. gd. But the extra supply was 
quite inadequate to meet the demand, and in March 1870, 
for the third time, the King was asked to sanction the 
introduction of a limited number of Norwegian Bibles 
(identical in language but somewhat different in text), on a 
royalty of about 2|d. per copy. After four months' delay 
an unfavourable reply was returned by the Government on 
the ground that the Norwegian text differed from the Danish, 
and that the Revised Version, which had been completed 
under Professor Hermansen, would be issued in a few 

The long-expected version appeared in 1871, and the 
Committee at once gave instructions for the production of 
a large edition at Cologne from the revised Danish text. 
The Orphan House and the Danish Bible Society, which 

' Christian IX., father of the Princess of Wales. 


throughout had opposed the distribution of the purely 
canonical Scriptures, and in their aversion to the adoption 
of more efficient plans had declared that ' ' there was no great 
want of Bibles in Denmark," now attempted to preoccupy 
the ground by reducing their price from 4s. gd. to 3s. 6d. 
The results of such a policy could meet with nothing but 
approval from the Committee, but the change came too late to 
affect the displeasure which had been aroused by the intracta- 
bility of the directors. The matter had been discussed without 
reserve by clergy and laity ; for two consecutive sessions it 
had engaged the attention of Parliament, and in 187 1 a motion 
for the abolition of the monopoly was carried by a large 
majority. In August another memorial praying for increased 
liberty of action in printing the Bible was prepared and 
signed by the President. It was to have been presented 
to the King by the Rev. S. B. Bergne, but, owing to his 
illness, his place was taken by Mr Plenge. His Majesty, 
who was again most cordial, expressed his willingness to 
do all in his power to satisfy the wishes of the Committee. 
His kindly disposition was strengthened by the personal 
recommendation of the good Queen-Dowager,^ and to her 
advocacy the result was largly due. By a decree of the nth 
May 1872 the Society was allowed to import the Danish 
authorised version, without the Apocrypha, on payment of a 
royalty of one mark (over 4d.) per copy, and to have editions 
printed without extra charge at the Orphan House. Thus 
through the wise overruling of the King and the untiring 
energy and conciliatory spirit of the Society's agent, the action 
of the Committee was freed, after seven years of argument, 
appeal, and protest, from conditions more stringent than were 
imposed in any other country in Europe, Protestant, Roman 
Catholic, or Mohammedan. 

We may now revert to the ordinary work of the agency. 

' Queen Caroline Amalie died in the spring of 1881 : " a very pious lady,'' whose 
life was spent in the promotion of all Christian objects. 


One of Mr Plenge's first projects was to establish small 
depots in every district in the kingdom. By 1869 he had 
twenty-eight of these, besides thirty correspondents, who kept 
smaller supplies. Among the other organisations which 
gave their co-operation, the Society for Home Missions, 
which had extended its system all over the country, had 
in its employ fifty colporteurs and lay preachers who passed 
from place to place, holding meetings, preaching, and selling 
the Scripture. 

In the summer some ten thousand troops went under canvas 
a few miles from Viborg, and for thirteen years or more a 
colporteur spent about a fortnight among the tents on the 
high hills surrounded by the lakes and beechwoods of Jutland. 
From the first he was well received ; later, when two went, 
they were treated "with marked respect" by the commanding 
officer, who placed a tent at their disposal for their books, 
and offered them bedding if they cared to sleep in camp — 
"a thing which no stranger is allowed to do." The soldiers 
gave them friendly assistance — welcome enough in the few 
crowded hours in which Bible-work could be done. In 1876, 
1790 Bibles, Testaments, and Psalters were disposed of in ten 
days between six and nine o'clock in the evening ; in other 
words, there were but thirty hours available, and the books 
were sold at the ;rate of one a minute. During the next 
visit 2183 volumes were distributed in the same time, although 
half the men had been in camp two years before. 

In 1874 Denmark was in a more flourishing condition 
than it had been since the beginning of the century. On all 
sides appeared the signs of wealth and prosperity. Scarcely 
less noticeable were the tokens of a revival of religious 
earnestness and activity ; and there was no room to doubt 
that this improvement was intimately connected with the 
study of the Word of God. In 1867 Mr Plenge had set 
down the highest average distribution on which the Com- 
mittee could count at 15,000 copies; in 1874 it exceeded 


23,000.1 In 1876 sprang up a desire for a larger and more 
costly volume, which should be worthy of a place in divine 
service and family worship and suitable for presentation on 
"great occasions." A handsome Family Bible in royal 
octavo was accordingly published in the following year, and 
was subsequently furnished with maps. 

Considerable change took place in the methods of opera- 
tion in the later seventies. The sub-depots were gradually 
superseded by the booksellers, who ordered direct from the 
capital and sold at the regular prices ; and as the Moravian 
Brethren gave up colportage and the Home Missions reduced 
their travelling staff, the agency increased its own. contingent 
of Biblemen to a score or more, who were engaged for 
longer or shorter periods during the twelvemonths. In no 
other country could colportage be managed so cheaply. The 
entire expense was covered by an allowance of 25 per cent, 
on the sales until 1883, when the Committee granted such an 
increase of wages as made it possible for the men to share in 
the benefits of the Employes' Savings Fund. 

"Never," exclaimed Mr Plenge, in his survey of 1877, 
' ' never were the churches better attended, or the Gospel 
more faithfully preached ; never was the cause of missions, 
whether home or foreign, supported with so much zeal and 
liberality." Yet Denmark had not escaped the blighting 
influences of infidelity and a Godless socialism. There were 
prosperous districts, especially in North Jutland, where the 
people were divided between belief and unbelief, where in 
one parish a faithful pastor spoke to empty benches, and 
the colporteur, scoffed at and derided, was refused a night's 
shelter, while in the next the house of God was crowded by 
a reverent congregation and the poor were helped by their 

^ The first edition of the revised Danish version printed for the Society at the 
Orphan House was finished in the spring of 1874, ^"d was on sale in July. In 1882 
a Pocket Bible, the demand for which had arisen through the revival meetings of 
Lord Radstock and Mr Reginald Radcliffe, was in circulation, and 14,000 copies were 
sold in two and a half years, 


neighbours to purchase the Word of Life. This strange 
alternation between good and evil marked the remaining years 
of the period. Materialism grew more aggressive ; atheists 
publicly declared that there was no God, no Saviour, no life 
to come ; freethinkers clamoured in Parliament for the 
omission of the reference to " God and His holy Word " in 
the time-honoured oath ; but against these manifestations 
were to be set the rapid growth of Sunday schools, the 
activity of religious denominations, the evidence of a nation 
awakening to the danger which threatened their spiritual 

In 1883-84 the work of distribution, which began with 
3800 copies in 1856, had attained to 40,500 a year ; and 
the aggregate of the twenty-eight years stood at 614,565 
volumes, of which as many as 78,324 were Bibles. After 
the appearance of the Revised Version a single colporteur 
often sold in a year as many complete Bibles as the Danish 
Society had been accustomed to distribute in the pre- 
agency time. Apart from its own labours, however, the 
agency infused an extraordinary vitality into the operations 
of the Danish Society, and the benevolent objects of the 
Orphan House must have benefited to an extent undreamed 
of in the most arbitrary days of its monopoly. 

The total expenditure on the Danish Agency for the 
twenty-eight years was ;£<^.g,2gi ; the total receipts amounted 
to ;^20,493, or 41 -5 per cent.^ 

From Denmark we obtain a glimpse or two of the wild 
eider - haunted cluster of the Faroe Islands. In 1859 ^^ 
application for New Testaments was received from a pastor 
in Ostero. Twenty years later correspondence took place 
as to the possibility of colportage during the summer, but 
it was agreed that in those boisterous seas the difficulties 

' Various supplies of the Danish Scriptures — chiefly Portions — for seamen and 
other Danes abroad were covered by this expenditure. 


and expense were too great for such a project. A consign- 
ment of books for the supply of small depots was accordingly 
despatched in 1880, but as the Scottish Bible Society had 
attended to the group some eight or ten years before, no 
more than 433 copies were needed at that time. 

Once more Iceland comes into our story. As far back as 
1841, when a new edition of the Bible was passing through 
the island press, Dr Henderson had appealed to the Society 
for assistance ; but deeply interested as the Committee were, 
their goodwill was restricted by the Apocrypha regulations. 
For twenty years the Reports contained no tidings of that 
wild Norse world on the edge of the Arctic Circle ; but in 
1 86 1 the New Testament and Psalter were revised with the 
aid of the Society, and seen through the press at Oxford 
by Eirikr Magmisson, the distinguished Icelander who 
was afterwards appointed Sub - Librarian at Cambridge 
University.! The volume was in circulation in 1863, and 
in July that year the Icelandic Bible Society recorded its 
heartfelt thanks for the friendly solicitude which placed the 
Scriptures within reach of all. Although in such a country 
transport and distribution were extremely difBcult, two years 
had not gone by before the 10,000 copies had been exhausted, 
and a second impression equally large was ordered. In the 
interim the Old Testament was being revised at the expense 
of the Society by Professor Pjetursson, superintendent of 
the Pastoral College at Reykjavik, and Lector Sigurdr 
Melsted ; the proofs were read by Magmisson ; and in 1866 
the complete Bible issued from the press.^ Professor 
Pjetursson had by this time been raised to the see of 
Iceland, and thenceforward the circulation of the Word 
of Life among his people became his especial care. A 
colporteur was engaged to visit the remote settlements and 

^ Better known, perhaps, by the Three Northern Love-stories, the Story of Grettir, 
and the Story of the Volsungs, in which William Morris and he collaborated. 

^ As a mark of appreciation the Icelandic Bible Society requested the London 
Secretaries to become honorary members of their organisation. 


322 THE MONOPOLY IN DENMARK [1854-1884] 

outlying farms, the "oases in the lava," and ample pro- 
vision was made for the needs of those who were too poor 
to purchase even at the low prices at which the books were 
offered. During the bad seasons that came shortly after- 
wards, when the coast was blocked with ice from Greenland, 
and merchant ships could not make port, and the hay 
harvest failed in the glacial air, this kindly forethought was 
widely appreciated.^ 

From time to time in subsequent years news came from 
the island, of the young generation growing up in the love 
of the Bible ; of copies of the Scriptures distributed among 
the French fishing fleet (some three hundred boats perhaps, 
with crews of twenty men each), or on board the French 
men-of-war stationed in these waters ; of remittances for 
books sold among the people. Up to 1878 the Bishop 
forwarded over ;^i2i4. In the summer of that year the 
Committee presented him with a copy of the Danish Family 
Bible in recognition of his services, and in 1884, on the eve 
of the Tercentenary of the Icelandic version of the Bible, 
his name was placed on the roll of Honorary Life Governors. 
To commemorate the completion of that great work,^ which 
was the true beginning of the Reformation in Iceland, a 
Bible with a suitable inscription was presented by the Com- 
mittee to each of the twenty deaneries in the island, to the 
Episcopal Archives at Reykjavik, and the Library of the 
Pastoral Seminary. 

^ A special grant of Scriptures was voted during the famine of 1882, for the relief 
of which ;f 5505 was subscribed to the Mansion House Fund by the general public. 

^ The printing of Bishop Gudbrand Thorlaksson's translation was finished at 
Holar on the 6th June 1584. — See vol. i. p. 164. 



In 1854 ^^ Knolleke, the assistant foreign secretary, made 
the first of a series of visits to Norway. He conferred with 
the agency committee at Christiania, and in July, when 
the cuckoos were caUing and every rocky nook was filled 
with wild flowers and mountain berries, he travelled north- 
ward by carriole to the centres of the four sub-agencies — 
Trondhjem, Bergen, Stavanger, and Christiansand. Far 
away, within the Arctic Circle, there was a small Auxiliary 
at the Alten Copper Mines near Bossekop, founded in 1849 
by the Cornish manager of the company ; otherwise 
Trondhjem was the most northerly of the Society's stations, 
and the provinces of Nordland and Fin mark were under the 
care of the Norwegian Bible Society. At Bergen, it will be 
remembered, accounts had been closed as far back as 1843 
— "our services no longer required"; but in that bright 
though showery city, with its red roofs and white timber 
houses, its orchards and forest of masts clustered between 
the fjord and a sweep of the high fells, Knolleke sought 
out Christian Joachim Mohn, the "excellent young man" 
whom Dr Paterson had made treasurer in 1832. With his 
ready help the sub-agency was revived, and zealous workers 
soon discovered that there was ample scope for their activity. 
At Stavanger Knolleke found the sub-agency closely con- 
nected with a Local Association^ which took a large share 

' The Stavanger Association was formed to co-operate with the Norwegian 
Society, but the arrangement did not prove satisfactory, and it allied itself with the 
British and Foreign Agency. 



in the work of distribution, and which had decided that it 
should commemorate the Jubilee of the parent Society by 
sending colporteurs into Nordland and Finmark. 

Throughout his journey the visitor was impressed by the 
prevailing dearth of the Scriptures, and the necessity for 
more direct and vigorous methods of actioa. On his return 
the Committee forwarded a series of resolutions for the 
guidance of the sub-agencies ; arrangements were made for 
the supply of schools, hospitals, and prisons ; and prices 
were reduced for the benefit of soldiers, sailors, and factory 
girls. Larger measures do not appear to have been immedi- 
ately practicable, and for some time to come the success of 
the cause depended almost wholly on voluntary effort, the 
enthusiasm of correspondents, and the co-operation of 
ministers and resident and travelling schoolmasters. By 
these means, indeed, incalculable good was effected. In 
town and country the circulation of the Bible was followed 
by stirrings of religious conviction ; people and clergy 
gathered together for the reading and exposition of the 
sacred text ; divinity students undertook the visitation of 
the poor and sick. Still there was everywhere the natural 
tendency to weariness in well-doing, which constant super- 
vision and encouragement alone could check. In the diocese 
of Christiania, the most populous in Norway, there were in 
1858 half a dozen towns — some of them with ten or twelve 
thousand inhabitants — in which no attempt was being made 
to promote the diffusion of the Scriptures, and from which 
nothing of importance could be expected "until the places 
had been personally visited." 

It was the sparsely-peopled country districts, however, the 
vast tracts with seven, eight, or nine persons to the square 
mile, which presented the great problem in Norwegian 
Bible-work. Devoted though the clergy might be, there 
was but one pastor to every three or four thousand souls. 
The average parish covered 70 square miles ; some parishes, 


with three or four churches far apart, extended over 
twice or thrice that area. Once in three or four weeks 
— in some places once in as many months — the pastor 
ministered to a distant section of his flock, if the fjords 
were passable and the mountain-roads and bridle-paths were 
not buried in snow-drifts. In the Skjcergaard, the tangle of 
islands along the coast, there were families cut off by ten 
or twelve leagues of sea, who were fortunate if they could 
attend divine service twice a year. Colportage alone could 
place the Scriptures under every roof in these wild regions, 
and in 1855 a beginning was made in this arduous and 
costly work. Bergen despatched supplies to the Lofoden 
Islands for the cod and herring fleets which lie in watch 
for the February shoals in the West Sound, and the 
Stavanger Biblemen set out on the first of many journeys 
among the hundred and thirty thousand Norwegians and 
Lapps of the northern bishopric, for whose benefit little had 
been effected by the district committee of the Norwegian 
Society in Tromso. 

By a strange ordering of events, the colporteurs scarcely 
reached the Kwain settlements in the Alten Valley when 
the Church of Rome established a mission there and opened 
a seminary, "with every inducement to tempt the residents 
to place their children under the care of the priests." At 
the same moment a breath of Pentecost seemed to pass 
over Tromso. "An intense desire was awakened for God's 
precious Word " ; the islet-city discarded the gaieties and 
amusements which had won for it the name of den lille Paris 
("Little Paris") ; balls and theatricals were forgotten, and 
people met at each other's houses to listen to the Scriptures, 
to sing hymns, and join in prayer. The revival spread, 
and in 1857 there were few parishes — and these the inaccess- 
ible spots among the fells or along the fjords — in which 
the day did not close ' ' in golden commerce of celestial 
things." In the summer of 1858 Mr Knolleke arrived in 


Tromso, the concurrence of a few influential persons was 
secured, and the fifth Norwegian sub-agency was founded. 

About the same time colportage was adopted at Christiania ; 
a few years later the sub-agencies at Christiansand, Bergen, 
Trondhjem, and Tromso had their Biblemen ; in 1865, as a 
token of the esteem in which the work was held, the steamboat 
companies of Christiania undertook to convey the Scriptures 
free of cost; in 1867 the same privilege was granted by the 
Government and four private companies, and free freight for 
all consignments from the Bible House to the agency was 
generously offered by Mr Seligman, a Glasgow merchant, 
who owned the North Star. Before long the colporteurs them- 
selves were honoured with free passage upon the lakes and 
fjords. The Society's operations were thus extended so far 
beyond the old limits that the average annual circulation, which 
had reached about 6oco prior to the Jubilee and had grown 
to 16,000 between 1854 and 1864, rose in 1864-74 to 20,000, 
and considerably exceeded 24,000 in the ten years following. 

Upheld by prayer, the Biblemen pressed further and 
further afield : as far south as the light on Lindesnaes ; as 
far north as the northernmost town in the world, Hammerfest 
on treeless Kvald Island ("all the trees but one cluster of 
birch cut down for fire-wood long ago ; and now we look 
to the Gulf Stream for driftwood.") The Book guided them 
to strange places. There were the solitudes of Trondhjem 
where some houses were so lonesome that only two persons, 
besides the nearest neighbours, had entered in eight years. 
There was the west-coast parish, in which during two incum- 
bencies no man had been followed to the grave — not that death 
and sorrow were unknown, but that all the men-folk were lost 
at sea. Now the scene was an upland gaard (farmstead) 
in the Bergen country, where the colporteur was asked to 
minister to the sick, "and some of these had been bed-ridden 
for nine or ten years " ; now it was a three days' fair, at 
Drammen or Skien or Grundset perhaps, with horse-dealers 


and cattle-dealers, stalls and shows, music and merriment, 
gay groups of young people, troops of children dancing 
and singing ; and amid the noise and commotion — a Bible 
in his uplifted hand — stood the colporteur, who knew that 
" it is not an easy matter to be a Christian during the fair." 

So one heard of him in all directions — in the Tromso 
region, contending with Apocrypha difSculties and bartering 
his books for wool, butter, cheese, tallow, and hundreds of 
skins ; among the Reindeer Lapps at Kautokeino, at three- 
streeted Lillehammer, on tourist steamers, at camps of exer- 
cise, among the Biri glass-makers, at the saw-mills and 
iron-works on Ule Fall, in Saeterdal "where the tall men 
grow," among the silver miners of Konsberg, where one 
may still see, let into a wall of the church, the top of the 
stool on which "Mr Jacobus Stuart" (afterwards James 1. 
of England) "sat on the 25th November 1589, to hear a 
sermon preached by Mr David Lentz on T/ie Lord is my 
Shepherd." Here he was welcomed, there rebuffed. In the 
little port of Hougesund, the resort of thousands of fisher- 
folk, people crowded into his lodging at the close of the 
day to join him in prayer ; in the morning the neighbours 
lay in wait and begged him to stay and read the Scriptures 
to them. In Nordland he called at 3755 farmsteads and 
cottages, met with a careless or scoffing " No" at 2978, and 
not unfrequently was refused a shelter for the night. In his 
reports there is scarcely a glimpse of the summer pine-woods 
or the magical brief twilight which separates sunset from 
sunrise. One reads instead: "It was snowing, drifting, 
blowing the whole day. I was obliged to take another road, 
more hilly than any road I ever saw before, over the high 
fjelds, and then down again to the valleys beneath. When 
I had travelled two miles (fourteen English) I sold two Bibles 
and one Testament. I considered it too early to seek night 
quarters, and afterwards there were no lodgings to be got, 
so I had to travel all that night," 


Here, as among the reticent people of Sweden, one heard 
little of personal blessings and deliverances : the results of 
three years of Bible-work were seen in the quickening and 
enlargement of the spiritual life of the whole country. 
Romanism, it is true, gained a foothold ; ^ too many among 
the poorer classes were led astray by the pernicious teach- 
ings of the Latter-day Saints ; ^ materialism, at a later date, 
invaded even the quiet valleys of Trondhjem, and ' ' the Bible 
was assailed with an audacity hitherto unknown " ; but the 
religious vitality of Norway was evinced in the number of 
parishes in which one might now travel far to find a house 
without at least a New Testament, in the increased observ- 
ance of family worship, in the development of missionary 
enterprise — missions to the heathen, to the Jews, home 
missions, missions to seamen in foreign as well as native 
ports, in the building of churches and schools, the formation 
of Young Men's Christian Associations, the employment of 
city evangelists and Biblewomen, and, not least, in the 
founding (in i868) of the Luther Society with its band of 
colporteurs for the dissemination of the Scriptures and 
religious literature. 

Of outstanding events there were not many, and these 
may be briefly chronicled. 

In July 1873 Oscar II. and Sophie of Nassau were crowned 
in the old green-grey cathedral at Trondhjem, the people 
coming with flowers to all the post-stations to greet "the 
mother of the land " as her Majesty drove herself, Norwegian 
fashion, in her own carriole from the Romsdal. Thirty 
years hence, long after the Society's work shall have 
closed in Norway, we shall hear once more of these royal 
lovers of the Bible. 

^ Beginning in Christiania in 1845 with worship in a room, the Roman Catholics 
built a handsome church, with a school and sisterhood attached ; and in 1874 an 
institution for children was founded at a cost of nearly ;^5ooo. The mission at Alten 
was removed to Hammerfest in 1862, and other churches were built or sites obtained 
in the provinces. 

^ At the close of 1878 the Mormon Scandinavian Mission numbered 46 branches, 
467 elders, and 4158 church members. — Bancroft, Hist. Pacific States — Utah, 
p. 411, n. 


In 1877 the Society lost a tried and venerable friend in 
Sir John Rice Crowe, K.C.B., Consul-General for Norway. 
He was over fourscore when he passed away in a peaceful 
morning sleep. For more than half a century he had served 
his country ; for thirty-three years he had been the honorary 
representative of the Society, and almost the whole of the 
printing and binding of the Norwegian Scriptures had been 
done under his supervision. From 1863 his name had stood 
on the roll of Life Governors, from 1875 on that of the 
Vice-Presidents. Both as Consul-General and representative 
of the Society he was succeeded by Captain Henry Michael 
Jones, who had won the Victoria Cross in the storming of 
the quarries before Sebastopol. 

New Testament Portions in Norwegian were published 
in 1877, and in less than two years 32,000 Psalters and 
single Gospels were sold. 

In 1878 the famous Alten Copper Mines were abandoned, 
and the little Auxiliary, which had circulated 2683 copies in 
Norwegian, Finnish, and Swedish, closed its mission in its 
thirtieth year. 

From 1878 to 1881 Norway shared in the depression 
and suffering which prevailed throughout Europe. But 
even in this dark season of distress and feverish emigration, 
when the colporteurs ' ' sowed beside the waters of bitter- 
ness," the work of the sub-agencies and of the Luther, 
Norwegian, and Scottish Bible Societies bore evidence to 
the attachment of the people to the Word of God. 

In 1880 Captain H. M. Jones, V.C., was enrolled 
as a Life Governor on his appointment to Philippopolis,^ 
and his place was occupied until 1883 by the Rev. St John 
F. Mitchell, British Chaplain in Christiania. 

In 1 88 1 Dean Lassen, who had long been chairman of 
the agency committee at Christiania, retired at the age of 

^ He became Minister- Resident at Bangkok in 1889, at Lima in 1894, and at Quito 
in 1895. 


eighty-five. In the course of the same year Mr S. E. 
Svendsen of the Stavanger Sub-Agency (Honorary Life 
Governor since 1870) wrote: "Fifty years, if I live till 
August next year, I shall have enjoyed the pleasure of 
corresponding with the British and Foreign Bible Society: 
we ought to have a jubilee then." Before that date came 
round he had been called to the everlasting Jubilee. 

In the course of the same year, while the Committee were 
preparing to withdraw from Sweden, public attention was 
drawn to their efforts for the welfare of Norway by a most 
ungracious reference in the Report of the Norwegian Bible 
Society. A strangely inconsistent regret was expressed 
that the British and Foreign Bible Society was "pursuing 
its course with as great success as ever, although it worked 
upon principles which the Lutheran Church could not 
approve " — with the petulant addition that the native society 
could undertake single-handed "all the Bible circulation 
needed in Norway," and that the British and Foreign 
"should spend its money on some more needy country." 
The remarks were as unconsidered as they were incon- 
siderate. At that moment the population of Norway was 
1,950,000. Valuable as its work had been, the Norwegian 
Society, which employed no colporteurs, had issued, since 
its formation in 1816, considerably less than half a million 
copies of Scripture, while the agencies, founded in 1832, had 
circulated, largely through their Biblemen, little less than 
three quarters of a million. 

In the following summer Mr Weakley met Pastor 
Bernhoft, the secretary of the Norwegian Bible Society at 
Christiania, and conveyed the assurance that so far from 
wishing to hinder native effort the Committee would welcome 
the day when the people of Norway, who had so liberally 
supported home and foreign missions, took such a view of 
the claims of their own Bible Society that the whole field 
might be surrendered to their care. In the same sense he 


conferred with the committees of the sub-agencies ; but the 
inequalities, revealed by his tour, in the condition of the 
different provinces clearly indicated that any hasty project 
of retirement would be detrimental to the people, whose 
circumstances, in their own scattered homes or in the 
distant countries to which they were emigrating, rendered 
them specially dependent on the possession of the Word of 
God. All misconceptions, however, were happily removed, 
friendly relations were renewed, and the Norwegian directors 
cordially authorised the Society's use of their revised version 
of the Psalms. Since 1850 the Norwegian Society had 
completed one revision of the Bible ; a second was slowly 
advancing, but to their great regret the Committee were 
unable to aid its progress in consequence of the Apocrypha 

A last look, as the period terminates at the beginning of 
1884! At Bergen Christian Joachim Mohn is now an old 
man— eighty-one — but scarcely less active than in his prime. 
He has long been known as "Bible Mohn" (Bibel-Mohn). 
In 1870 he was appointed a Life Governor ; six years ago 
he proposed to retire, but consented to await a successor ; 
in 1882 the Committee presented him with a Bible in 
recognition of his fifty years' connection with the work. 
The Bergen Sub-Agency, whose services were "no longer 
required" in 1843, has distributed 60,000 copies since its 
revival by Knolleke. The earliest of the colporteurs, 
Johanssen of Christiania, — one remembers the blowing and 
snowing and drifting on "the hilliest road I ever saw"— 
Johanssen resigned in 1878, worn-out with twenty years' 
service, and died at the age of seventy-five. After twenty 
years, too, Anders Holbcek of Christiansand resigned in 
1880, and died a year ago — nay, lives on rather in his son 
Anders, who accompanied him in his later journeys. Hans 
Olsen, another septuagenarian, still travels in summer in 
Trondhjem, which has greatly changed since his first round 


in 1861. The last of the veterans is J. L. Pedersen of 
Tromso. Between 1866 and 1881 he visited 20,000 families, 
without reckoning Lofoden and the fishing stations in 
Finmark. Among 12,000 there was no Bible, and over 
1300 had not even a New Testament. In his eighteenth 
year of service failing health prevents him from accepting 
a salary, but he is doing what he can on discount during 
the great fishing season in the Lofodens. 

From 1854 to 1884 the number of Bibles, Testaments, 
and Portions distributed by the Society in Norway was 
610,042, making a total of 698,357 copies from the forma- 
tion of the agency in 1832. The issues of the Norwegian 
Society amounted to 382,561 copies during the period and 
442,791 from its foundation. In all, from these two sources 
1,141,148 copies had been placed in the homes of the people. 

The following figures elucidate the progress of the work 
from 1844, when the expenditure and receipts of the agency 
were first shown in separate accounts. 




1844-54 • 

. • .£4,687 3 6 

.£1,724 17 II 

1854-69 . 

• 32,152 13 S 

13,382 6 8 

1869-84 . 

. 34,036 14 10 

15,651 10 5 

.£70,876 II 9 .£30,758 15 o 

The agency at Stockholm was reorganised, as we have 
seen, in the summer of the Jubilee, and the Rev. Johannes 
Rohtlieb was appointed to the direction of the work in 
Sweden. For six-and-twenty years he held his charge ; 
and to his instrumentality, under the divine blessing, his 
adopted country chiefly owed the distinction of being the 
first on the Continent from which the Society was enabled 
to withdraw its ministrations. 

His vigorous correspondence infused fresh energy into 
the old methods of operation. Here and there a pastor 
might be cold and indifferent, might even prove so hostile 


as to forbid the colporteur shelter and food ; but in the 
main the clergy co-operated warmly in the spread of the 
Scriptures, and in many an upland parish the minister or 
his daughters formed a connecting link between the agency 
and his congregation. Colportage was developed in many 
casual forms. The schoolmaster opened a small depot, spent 
his holidays with a knapsack on his back, and not infrequently 
helped the poor to a Bible or Testament out of his meagre 
salary of jCzo a year. The well-to-do peasant ordered from 
1000 to 2000 copies, and supplied the Biblemen of his side 
of the country. Here and there a devout lady, a retired 
merchant, a rich landowner supported a colporteur of their 
own. Small district associations were got together for the 
same purpose ; and a number of trustworthy men, recom- 
mended by their ministers, worked on a small commission, 
in direct communication with the agency. 

Home mission organisations appeared, and they had their 
Bible-sellers ; parish funds were raised to present the children 
with Bibles at their confirmation ; ^ and beyond these there 
were the booksellers in the towns, the old diocesan Bible 
Society of Gothenburg, and the local societies, such as those 
of Skara, Westeras, Calmar, and Carlscrona, which had 
been Auxiliaries in the early days. 

Thus, at a cost which was estimated at less than a penny 
a copy, and in a manner that reached the humblest and most 
remote, the Word of God was circulated impartially through- 
out the kingdom, from the Baltic to the frontier at Tornea 
and the fisher stations and reindeer pastures of Lapland, 
where the catechists of the Swedish Missionary Society 
gladly shared in the labour. As time went by, the reports 
became more frequent of spontaneous revivals among the 

1 The Confirmation ticket — ^granted only after a long course of instruction and a 
public examination — was in Sweden an important document, the lack of which, 
except in the case of the dissenting congregations, might bar employnient or marriage. 
The duty of sponsors too was regarded very seriously, and when the time of confirma- 
tion came, it was a sacred obligation even with the poorest to provide their god- 
children with a Bible or Testament. 


young, of weekly meetings for Scripture-reading, of a greater 
reverence for sacred things, of a kindlier reception of the 
Biblemen, who were detained as long as possible and pressed 
by letter to come again. " A glorious breath of grace blows 
over our country," wrote a naval officer who had taken to 
colportage. "The Lord be praised, there begins to be life 
among the dead bones ! " 

The New Testament designed for the Army and Navy 
left the press in 1855. The first 12,000 copies were sold so 
quickly that 18,000 more were ordered a few months later ; 
and twenty years afterwards the book was still required in 
large quantities. The various editions in Finn and Swedish 
printed at the Stockholm press between 1854 and 1864 
numbered from 75,000 to 120,000 copies yearly. 

The jubilee of the Swedish Bible Society was celebrated 
in the capital on the 3rd May 1865. The King and his 
brother Prince Oscar were present, and the enthusiastic 
assemblage included the highest and most distinguished in 
the land. Happy indeed had the Bible Society of Sweden 
been in its sovereigns ! Charles XIV. (Bernadotte) was its 
"first member and patron " ; his son Oscar I. attended many 
of its anniversaries ; and the royal tradition was continued 
by his successor, Charles XV. Since 1818 the Bible cause 
had been supported by the influence and example of the 
Crown. At that great gathering a voice was raised in a 
greeting of ' ' warmest thanks to that noble people away 
beyond the sea, whose labours for the increase of God's 
Kingdom on earth had brought forth such great blessings 
even to Sweden." 

A period of financial trouble and distress had just set 
in, but happily it was followed by improved trade and a 
succession of abundant harvests, and the circulation which 
had declined for a moment again rose steadily. In 1869 
Portions were published for the first time in Sweden, but 
they formed an inconsiderable part of the general sales. 


In 1874-75 the yearly issues reached the high-water mark 
of 100,764 copies, and the increase in the purchase of Bibles 
indicated not only a return of prosperity but a freer disposi- 
tion to accept the canonical books without the Apocrypha. 

At this date there was probably no other country in the 
continent of Europe in which the provision of the Scriptures 
approximated so closely to the number of the inhabitants. 
During forty years the Swedish Agency had dispersed some 
2,200,000 volumes, and the aggregate of the Swedish Bible 
Society now stood at 875,000 ; so that there had been a 
combined issue of considerably over 3,000,000 copies — a 
supply numerically equal to 75 per cent, of the actual popu- 
lation. In addition, private firms had not failed to find 
purchasers among the affluent for their illustrated and other 
costly editions. 

If the reports of the agency had been strangely wanting 
in those personal experiences so frequent in the records of 
the Society, evidence of the quickening power of the Word 
of Life was manifest beyond question in the spread of 
Sunday schools and schools for the poor, in the building 
of churches and chapels, the founding of homes for the 
destitute, hospitals for the sick, associations for home and 
foreign missions. The first Biblewoman was engaged in 
Stockholm in 1876. She found no great dearth of the 
Scriptures even among the poorest, but much sin and 
sorrow. Two years later the home of the Biblewomen had 
become a refuge in which the fallen might lead a new life, 
and in 1879 a prisoners' aid society was initiated by the 
Queen of Sweden herself. 

In the encouragement and furtherance of all these bene- 
volent and religious undertakings the Committee took an 
unfailing interest. Grants were made to the blind asylums, 
prices reduced for soldiers and sailors, special attention was 
given to prisons, and a cheap edition was brought out for 
Sunday and day schools. 


Partly in consequence of the freer practice of other 
societies, whose men were not restricted to the sale of the 
Scriptures, a distinct decline began in the seventies in the 
colportage of the Bible alone. The work was at once 
turned again into the old channel — pastors, correspondents, 
and revived local associations. 

Early in 1880 Dr Rohtlieb resigned the burden of his 
charge. In July he was laid low by paralysis, and in the 
following April he passed to his rest at the age of seventy- 
four. There was barely standing-room in the large church 
in which the funeral service was held. His coffin was 
covered with the choicest flowers — " so costly in Stockholm " 
— and more than fifty carriages followed his remains to the 
grave far outside the city. Many remembered the young 
assistant-pastor of 1833 ; all knew and loved the Bible 
Society agent who had passed through his hands little 
short of two and a half million copies of the Scriptures in 
Finn and Swedish during his twenty-six years of office. It 
would have gladdened him had he been told during the 
last weeks of his illness that the Queen of Sweden, in the 
quiet of Bournemouth, had sent a donation of ten guineas 
to the Society, and desired to be enrolled as a Life 

The Rev. R. H. Weakley, of whom we shall see more 
in a later chapter, succeeded to the agency in September 
1880. His interest was at once attracted by the revision of 
the Swedish Bible,^ which had nominally been in progress 
for over a century, but had been obstructed by the people, 
who would hear of no change in their sacred book. The 
spread of education had induced a more intelligent piety, 
and two tentative editions had been issued, the last in 1878, 
but had failed to satisfy the Church Council. A version 
of the New Testament was in preparation for the Synod of 

' Vol. ii. p. 228, K. 


1883, and its adoption, he trusted, would be made the 
occasion for founding a National Bible Society on such 
catholic lines as would permit the British and Foreign to 
withdraw from Sweden. 

This was the first intimation that the day of dearth in 
Sweden was at length a thing of the past, and subsequent 
measures, including the appointment of a distinguished 
consulting committee of clergy and laymen, were shaped 
to facilitate a gradual surrender of the work. 

In 1 88 1 there was issued a Swedish-Lapp version of the 
Gospel of St Matthew, by Pastor Lastadius, son of the 
celebrated preacher of Lappmark. It had been begun in 
1876, but his excursions through his tracts of parish had 
delayed it from year to year. Consignments of 200 copies 
were despatched by sea to the ports on the Gulf of Bothnia, 
and lay there till frost and snow made it possible for the 
reindeer to convey them inland to Arjeplog on the Horn 
Lake, Jockmock, and Gellivara under the shadow of its iron 

A New Testament, Swedish and English, was put to press 
in 1882 for the benefit of Swedish emigrants who passed in 
thousands from Gothenburg on their way to America ; and 
this was the last undertaking of the Committee on behalf 
of Sweden. 

Final arrangements were made at Stockholm on the 3rd 
July 1883, when the Rev. John Sharp (Secretary) and Dr 
F. J. Wood met in conference with Mr Weakley, Bishop 
Grafstrom, Mr Henry Tottie, and others of the consulting 
committee. In view of a transfer of plates and stock, it was 
decided to form a new society on the broad basis of the 
British and Foreign, for the Swedish Bible Society was 
ineligible for such a transfer on account of its adhesion to 
the Apocrypha, and the Evangelical National Society by 
reason of its diverse objects and publications. The Bishop 
VOt. m. Y 


undertook to assist in its formation, but after his sudden 
death on the nth August the project fell through. 

The intentions and motives of the Committee were 
explained to the people of Sweden in a circular issued on 
the 1st September, and confidence was expressed that as 
soon as Swedish Christians understood the position of the 
British and Foreign Society towards their country and the 
urgent needs of other lands, they would assume the duty 
which rightly belonged to them. A few days later Mr 
Weakley, who had been appointed to the new agency of 
Egypt, took leave of the many friends he had made, and 
Mr H. Tottie accepted charge of the affairs of the agency 
until the close. 

By many of the Swedish people the event was felt to 
be almost a "national calamity," but the course of the 
Committee was fully justified by the results. In October 
the revised Swedish New Testament passed the Synod and 
received the royal sanction. In 1884 the combined issues 
of the Swedish Bible Society, the National Evangelical 
Society, and two publishing houses amounted to 212,000 
Bibles and Testaments, of which 168,000 were the revised 
version ; and in the following year the entire circulation 
was estimated at not less than 180,000. 

In the autumn of 1885 the remaining stock of the agency 
— some 15,000 copies — was divided between London, Berlin, 
and New York, and the doors of the depot were closed. Mr 
Tottie was presented in person with a handsome Bible in 
remembrance of his gratuitous services, and his name was 
added to the list of Honorary Life Governors, where it 
stood till his death in 1901. 

From its formation in 1832 down to September 1885 
the Swedish Agency circulated 2,943,900 copies of the 
Scriptures. During that time, however, the Society had 
printed 3,236,000 copies in Swedish and 538,000 in Finn, 


The following figures show the growth of the work and 
the expenditure which it entailed. 



1844-54' . 

£23,170 8 3 

;£l3.57S 14 2 


64,970 16 10 

41,821 II J I 


71,653 10 8 

47,476 9 II 


1,341 2 8 

3>543 18 5 

^161,135 18 5 

^106,417 14 5 

Thus was the Society enabled to accomplish, so far as was 
needful, one small section of its world-wide ' undertaking. 
Seventy-seven years had gone by since its first grant — ;^300 
— was voted to the Swedish Evangelical Society in 1808, 
when, according to a careful estimate, in the whole population 
of Sweden not one family in ten, and among the peasantry 
not one in twenty, possessed the Word of God. 

' Up to 1844 the printing expenses at Stockholm are merged in those of the other 
foreign agencies. The expenditure noted here does not include the cost of English 
and other copies sent to Stockholm. 



The Crimean War had scarcely ended .when the Society 
lost an invaluable agent in Mr Mirrielees, who had been 
associated with its Russian work since 1829. In recognition 
of his many services, especially during the disastrous conflict, 
his name was added to the list of Honorary Life Governors ; 
and when he left St Petersburg in 1857, affairs passed into 
the hands of the committee of management which he had 
recently formed.^ The work was continued on the old lines. 
Relations were maintained with the Lutheran and Reformed 
clergy and with the various branches of the Protestant Bible 
Society of Russia which, with twenty sectional committees 
and two hundred and seventy Auxiliaries, made provision for 
the needs of colonists and foreigners ; in the Baltic provinces 
the Word of Life was issued from depots at Revel, Riga, 
and Dorpat ; ^ in Finland there were active friends at Hel- 
singfors, Abo, Uleaborg, Kuopio, and Borgo. 

Unhappily, the Russians themselves derived least 
benefit from the operations of the agency. In 1858 the 
specifically Russian share in a total distribution of 23,900 
copies was 201 volumes in the old Sclavonic — the author- 
ised version of the Greek Church. Venerable indeed, but 
obsolete, and as unreadable to the mass of the Czar's people 

^ After a brief residence on the Continent he settled at Ealing, and in 1859 
became a member of the Committee, which he attended to within a few days of his 
death. After an association of forty-eight years, he passed away in April 1877. 

2 In 1856 a Jubilee gift of 171 Bibles in various languages was distributed among 
the University students at Dorpat, and in 1858 a free contribution of ^^4, 15s. was 
received from them in return. 


as Wycliffe's would have been to our own, it was still the 
only Bible within reach of the Russian commonalty, for 
the Holy Synod, exercising its exclusive rights, refused to 
print the Scriptures in the mother tongue, or to allow their 
importation in editions printed abroad. Happily, just before 
the publication of the ukase which released 23,000,000 from 
serfdom (3rd March 1861), the Holy Synod gave the people 
the Four Gospels in their own speech. In a little more 
than a year upwards of 200,000 copies, many of them in 
diglot with the Sclavonic text, were in circulation. The 
whole of the New Testament — the first edition printed in 
Russia since 1824 — was published in the summer of 1862. 
In the following year, when it was issued in a cheaper 
form, nearly three-quarters of a million copies had passed 
through the press. In 1869 appeared the first five books 
of the Old Testament. 

The action of the Holy Synod gave the Society no 
facilities for the use of its own version — an undertaking of 
which something will be said later — but it vastly enlarged 
the scope of the agency. Increasing supplies of Russ 
Scriptures were drawn from the offices of the Synod, and 
the agency sales in Russ rapidly advanced from 1000 copies 
in the report of 1861 to 63,317 in 1869. Several Biblemen 
in the pay of pious Russian friends worked in St Petersburg 
and were sent out to surrounding villages. One splendid 
colporteur, "F.," ranged over many governments, attended 
the great fairs at Nijni Novgorod, visited Kazan and Perm 
in the north. Novo Tscherkask in the Don Cossack country, 
Astrakhan and Baku on the Caspian shores, and finally 
settled for a time in Tiflis. In 1866, Mr A. Eck of the 
St Petersburg committee was appointed agent for Northern 
Russia, and the frequent journeys needed to extend and 
systematise the work were begun. 

Progress meanwhile had been seriously checked in the 
south. The restrictions imposed on Mr Melville's work at 

342 IN ALL THE RUSSIAS [1^54- 

the time of the war were enforced long after peace was 
restored. The interdict on his own movements was not 
relaxed until the autumn of 1858, and even then the pro- 
hibition of colportage in Odessa and the neighbouring 
governments was maintained. Providentially some 15,000 
or 16,000 copies had been placed in charge of friends over a 
wide area, and in Odessa two worthy merchants used their 
warehouses and the chief hotel in the city as centres of 
distribution. In 1859 he travelled to Astrakhan where 
he recovered a store of 2325 volumes "in almost all the 
languages of Europe and Western Asia," and distributed 
some 1400. Loading a cart with 500 or 600 copies, he set 
out for Karass. For ten days he crossed the waterless 
steppe "without seeing a house, a tree, or a bush," and 
found Mr Galloway — five-and-twenty years older than when 
we saw him last^ — "sitting at his door with two Tartars," 
and overjoyed to receive a supply of Tartar Testaments. 
Other journeys took him to the German colonies east and 
west of the Dnieper, on the Don, in the Crimea, and along 
the Sea of Azov ; but in spite of his exertions no advance 
was made. The average sales from 1854 ^ '^^^ did not 
reach 4000 a year. 

Severe illness, following a toilsome journey to Novo 
Tscherkask, compelled him to leave for England late in 
1866, He made a quick recovery and returned to Odessa 
in August 1867, with an assistant and future successor in 
James Watt, then in the brightness and enthusiasm of 

It was the year of the great Paris Exhibition. The 
Czar had escaped the assassin's bullet, and Mr Edwards 
had expressed to his Majesty the congratulations of the 
Society and received the reply: "I have always greatly 

' Vol. ii. p. 265. 

^ James Watt was born of humble parents in a small Scottish village in 1846. 
Thrown upon the world at an early age, he attained a position of trust in London, 
but his heart was abroad in the mission-field when Melville visited the Scotch family 
with whom he was living. 



valued the good opinion of England." A few weeks later, 
a handsome English Bible was taken to St Petersburg by 
the Secretary, Mr Bergne, and on the Emperor's return 
was presented through the British Ambassador (Sir Andrew 
Buchanan), together with an address in which the Com- 
mittee recorded their joy at his Majesty's escape and their 
prayers for his guidance and protection. The Czar had 
always been well-disposed towards the objects of the Society. 
With the graciousness of his predecessor he had remitted 
the duties {£^13) payable on large quantities of Scriptures 
imported by the St Petersburg Agency in 1856; a similar 
privilege was granted in the case of Odessa; and in 1862 
the Bible House Library was enriched with a facsimile of 
the beautiful Greek Codex of the fourth century, inscribed 
in gold capitals on white vellum, which Dr Tischendorf 
discovered in the convent of St Catherine on Sinai. The 
respectful attention of the Society appeared to touch his 
Majesty, and prepared the way, it was believed, for greater 
freedom and facilities of work in his dominions. 

In i86g a native Russian Bible Society was established 
with the direct sanction of the Czar. Early in the year 
Mr Eck, who had been for some time in feeble health, died 
at Narva on the Baltic ; and a new chapter in Russian 
Bible history may be dated from the arrival of his successor, 
the Rev. W. Nicolson, in September. 

As the country was mapped out into agency divisions, 
one began to realise that far-reaching land of steppe and 
forest over which 84,000,000 were scattered in numberless 
villages. As late as 1883 there were but four towns 
of 100,000 inhabitants — St Petersburg, Moscow, Odessa, 
Riga — and only twenty-three of 50,000. For lack of a 
bourgeoisie or mercantile middle class, commerce, practically 
limited to the great fairs, was still under the conditions 
which prevailed in Western Europe in the Middle Ages.^ 

^ A characteristic of Slav countries. — Reich, Success among Nations, pp. 185, 196. 

344 IN ALL THE RUSSIAS ['854- 

Russia was an empire of villages. As the train swept 
across the enormous plains or through the dark and melan- 
choly woods, the traveller came here and there, at wide 
distances apart, upon clusters of black-looking izbas or log- 
houses — the "derevnia" and its stone Byzantine church 
crowned with green cupolas, or "the selo" without a 
church. Izba and stables formed two sides of a square ; 
the other two were fenced high with tarred planks against 
the wolves. On each cottage was painted the pitcher, the 
axe, or other implement which the inmate was to bring for 
use in an outbreak of fire. During the long winter the 
sledge facilitated travelling, but in these villages no pro- 
vision was made for strangers ; and in travelling there was 
a real danger when cold and hunger drove the wolves out 
of the forest to the homestead. ' ' The work of a colporteur 
is no sinecure in such circumstances," wrote Mr Nicolson, 
"yet it is only through colportage that the great mass 
of the inhabitants of Russia can be reached." 

The Northern Agency included six vast divisions : Moscow, 
St Petersburg, the Baltic Provinces, Finland, the Volga 
Valley, and, lastly, the group of southern governments — 
Kaluga, Tula, Riazan, Tambov, and Penza. St Petersburg 
was the official centre and chief workshop of the system. In 
1874 a depot was opened in Moscow, book-hawkers were 
employed, correspondents in the country entered into com- 
munication with the depositary, and, as time went by, the 
brilliant city, whose many-coloured walls, green roofs, and 
cupolas of silver and lapis-lazuli seemed to reflect its motley 
population of Russians, Greeks, Turks, Tartars, Armenians, 
and Jews, became the most important centre of distribution 
in the empire. New sub-depots were started at Smolensk, 
Pskov, Mitau, and at Libau and Windau on the Baltic. 
In his journeys through Finland Mr Nicolson founded yet 
more sub-depots, a colporteur was engaged, arrangements 
were made for the sale of the Scriptures through the distri- 


buters of the Finnish Missionary Society, and between 2000 
and 3000 New Testaments were furnished at a nominal cost 
for the post-stations throughout the Grand Duchy. In the 
Volga Valley the principal depot was in the old Tartar city 
of Kazan. Within its walls bazaars and mosques, pictur- 
esque costumes of Chuvash and Cheremiss, the miraculous 
eikon of "Our Lady made without hands," ^ the University 
with its observatory, museum, press, and noble library, 
mingled the mediaeval East with the science and research 
of the West. But along the banks of the mighty river in 
Kazan province, and east and west of the Kama there were 
tribes, to some extent Christianised — Tartars and Chere- 
misses and Mordvins, Chuvashes, Permiaks, Syrjenians 
and Votjaks, — over two and a half millions of people, to 
whom the Society could not yet offer any part of the Bible 
in their own tongue. The New Testament had appeared 
in Mordvin and Cheremiss, and a Gospel or two in 
Votjak and Syrjenian in the days of the first Russian Bible 
Society, but these had never been reprinted. 

Beyond "the Stone Belt" of the Ural another division 
of the agency stretched across the entire breadth of Asia. 
A few copies of the Mongolian Scriptures had been issued ; 
between 2000 and 3000 volumes had been distributed by an 
English resident at Ekaterinburg on the eastern side of the 
Ural ; 1000 had been conveyed by the United States consular 
agent to Nikolaevsk at the mouth of the Amur. Between 
those extreme points three and a half millions awaited the 
light of the Gospel. As knowledge brought into clearer 
relief the wild expanses to be traversed, the languages and 
migratory habits of the strange tribes from the icy Arctic 
to Selenginsk, the magnitude of the work to be done, Siberia 
might well have become "the region of despair," if trust in 
the divine promise had not made it "the region of hope." 

' The famous eikon was stolen in June 1904 from the Bogoroditsky Convent, built 
in 1597 for its home. The thief was captured, and the "robe of jewels," said to be 
valued at 150,000 roubles, was recovered, but the eikon itself had been burnt. 

346 IN ALL THE RUSSIAS ['854- 

Of the total circulation of 127,578 volumes for the year 
1873-74 — 49)359 were sold by sub-depots ; 31,908 by depots ; 
31,023 by correspondents; 9534 by various societies; 3890 
by colportage ; and 1864 were bestowed gratis. 

The new arrangements at Odessa left Mr Melville at 
greater liberty to resume his journeys, and at the close of 
1868 he set out for Tiflis, in the hope of obtaining the 
sanction of the authorities for the publication of the Georgian 
New Testament. That project had been stopped by the 
Crimean War, and the time had not yet come for its realisa- 
tion. The neutral reply of the Holy Synod arrived so late 
that the Grand Duke and the nobility had left the Georgian 
capital. In the interval, however, "F.," the colporteur, 
opened a depot in Tiflis, and the work prospered until his 
recall to St Petersburg. After a short visit to England and 
a conference with the Committee, Mr Melville returned once 
more to Tiflis in 1870, but he found no prospect of a satis- 
factory settlement. It was his last service in the cause of 
the Society, with which, though never a regular agent, he 
had been associated for thirty years.^ Odessa was made 
an independent agency,- the northern boundary of which 
now included Astrakhan, the Lower Volga Valley, and the 
governments of Voronej, Orel, Tchernigov, and Volhynia ; 
and Mr Watt, who had acquired the three languages needed 
for daily intercourse, was appointed agent, at the early age 
of twenty-four. 

One of his first steps was to give the work of the Society 
a wider publicity. He obtained commodious premises for 
a depot opposite to the Cathedral, and displayed the Bible 
in the open windows. Friends feared the consequences, 
but Mr Watt had consulted the wishes of the authorities. 
During his absence, however, on one of his tours, perhaps 

' lie died at Maxwelltown, Dundee, 19th August 1886. 

^ The Odessa Agency is generally dated from 1868. Mr Watt's practical super- 
vision may have begun at that time, but Mr Melville was responsible chief. Mr 
Watt's name as agent first appears in the Report for 1871 ; separate accounts began 
in the Report for 1872. 


in Podolia or Bessarabia, the authorities themselves became 
uneasy and directed the place to be closed. His spirited 
young wife refused to comply, but promised that her husband 
should give them complete satisfaction on his return. The 
moment he reached home he called upon them, referred all 
questions to St Petersburg by telegram, received a favourable 
and most courteous answer, and so secured the highest legal 
authorisation for the depot. 

Within a year or two, three colporteurs were dissemi- 
nating the Scriptures in Volhynia, Bessarabia, Orel, Voronej, 
and around Tiflis, now made accessible by a line of railway 
from Poti on the Black Sea. Sub-depots too were founded — 
at Berdiansk on the Sea of Azov, at Kishenev, the chief town 
of Bessarabia, at Kharkov, famous for its university and its 
four annual fairs, at Kief, the Holy City of Russia. High 
on the cliffs above the Dneiper the gilded domes and white 
campaniles of Kief flashed over leagues of steppe to the 
immense pine-forests ; an ancient church stood on the spot 
from which Vladimir dragged Perun the Idol at his horse's 
tail to the sweeping river ; in the catacombs hewn in the 
limestone hills pilgrims by the hundred thousand venerated 
yearly the mummies of the holy men of old ; at the bookstall 
of the monks in the celebrated cloister the Russ version of 
the Scriptures was offered for sale. 

At the Winter Palace on the 28th January 1874, within 
a week of their marriage, the Duke of Edinburgh and his 
bride the Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna were presented 
with a sumptuous copy of the Society's Russ Bible. ^ Another 
copy was presented to the Czar on his visit to England in 
the following May, when the Society was represented by the 
Primate (Dr Tait), the Archbishop of York (Dr Thomson), 
and the Dean of Westminster; and the memorial of the 
Committee besought his Majesty's sympathy and interest 
in their desire that this version might have free course in 

1 Dean Stanley spoke for the deputation. 


his dominions. The request was laid by the Czar before 
the Holy Synod, but in 1876 its sanction to an edition of 
20,000 copies was regretfully withheld. This Bible, the 
first complete version in modern Russ, was in three volumes 
— the first, a reprint of the Octateuch, translated at the 
suggestion of Alexander L; the second, a new translation of 
the remaining canonical books ; the third, the Holy Synod's 
revised text of the New Testament with marginal references.^ 
One of the most notable facts in these years was the 
widespread movement for the education and elevation of the 
people, and the readiness of the working classes to take 
advantage of it. It had begun before the Emancipation of 
the Serfs, but the Emancipation had impressed on the 
authorities the need for its rapid diffusion. Between i860 
and 1862 the Holy Synod had issued about a million 
primers, in which a section was given to Sacred History. 
In the Army and Navy privilege and promotion were the 
rewards of scholarship. Schools were established for all 
ranks and conditions, and the remarkable growth of Sunday 
schools suggested a latent connection between the move- 
ment itself and the distribution of the Scriptures. Thence- 
forth, in any case, the two were closely connected. "Alike 
with German, Russian, and Jew," wrote Mr Watt, "the 
Word of God is made the class-book in their schools ; " 
and report after report told of the Society's relations with 
local Government institutions and school committees, and 
of the co-operation of native organisations, not least among 
them Colonel PashkofPs Tract Society — the ' ' Society for 
the Encouragement of Moral and Religious Reading." In 
1850 "literate" Russia represented no more than 2 per 
cent, of the population ; in 1871 the estimate varied from 

^ Besides providing for Russians abroad, the Committee had always desired to be 
prepared for the day when restrictions should cease. In 1858 a new edition of the 
Russ Testament was completed, in 1861 an edition of the Octateuch and Psalms ; and 
in 1865 Professor Levisohn began a translation of other books of the Old Testament. 
On his sudden death in 1869 the work was undertaken by Dr Chwolson, who had 
been engaged on the version of the Holy Synod ; the Octateuch was revised and con- 
formed to the original Hebrew, and the Bible was finished in 1873. 



5 per cent, to 9 per cent., but in Finland and the Baltic 
Provinces the number of non-readers was believed to be a 
very small minority. 

In the summer of 1874 Mr Nicolson crossed the Ural 
chain into his vast Asiatic territory. He passed through 
Nijni Novgorod too early for the picturesque concourse of 
chapmen out of all lands. For a year or two the governor 
of the Fair had reserved, near his own house, one of the 
best positions in the market for a Bible-stall, and the 
privilege was continued until 1883, when a permanent 
kiosk was erected. A voyage of 260 miles down the Volga 
took him to Kazan. The oldest steamer company on the 
river 1 had granted the Kazan depositary a free pass for his 
journeys, and that privilege too was renewed throughout 
the period. On that highway of 2000 miles from Tver and 
Yaroslav to the Caspian the colporteur met with people of 
every race, creed, and calling. 

This was the region of the Finn and Tartar tribes. At 
Kazan Mr Nicolson met M. Jacobleff, a Chuvash (after- 
wards inspector of Chuvash schools at Simbirsk), who in 
his desire to provide books for his people had translated 
St Matthew. He was asked to proceed with this under- 
taking ; and the Four Gospels in Chuvash were ready for 
the press in 1878, when their publication was opposed by an 
important official, and eighteen years elapsed before they 
saw the light. Another translator. Professor Ilminski, had 
completed a version of St Matthew in Kazan-Tartar, and 
he too was commissioned to undertake the four Gospels. 
His progress, however, was so slow that Mr Saleman of 
the Imperial Library, St Petersburg, began an independent 
translation, and his St Matthew appeared in 1884. 

Ascending the noble Kama River, Nicolson reached the 
busy iron town of Perm ; arranged for a small depot with 
a bookseller commended by the Governor ; and travelling 

' The Volga Steam Navigation Co. (1843). Many of the shareholders were English, 

350 IN ALL THE RUSSIAS [i854- 

250 miles by tarantass, passed the obelisk marked on 
one side "Russia," on the other "Asia," and arrived at 
Ekaterinburg, and his problem — Siberia. Friends on the 
spot advised him that an independent depot — at Tomsk, 
for instance, the commercial capital — was not desirable ; 
the trade of the country was mostly done at the large fairs, 
and all that was needed was a head-colporteur with an 
assistant to travel to these shifting centres. But colporteurs 
were not to be found in a day. Meanwhile in Tomsk and 
Ekaterinburg stocks of Scripture were held on commission 
by booksellers ; small depots were opened at Nikolaevsk 
and Vladivostock by two friendly Americans ; Colonel 
Pashkoff sent supplies to one of his Tract Society col- 
porteurs at Irkutsk, and communication was opened with 
the Russian missionaries in that town, especially in regard to 
the Buriat Scriptures. In 1876 the distinguished philologist, 
Antoine Schiefner, undertook a new edition of the Mongol 
Testament, translated by Swan and Stallybrass at Selenginsk 
more than thirty years before. The book was printing at 
the Academy of Sciences, St Petersburg, when he died in 
November 1879, but the work was resumed by M. Pozdnaieff, 
Professor of Mongolian in the University, and finished 
and authorised in 1880. A few months before Schiefner's 
death an English traveller visited all that remained of the 
Selenginsk mission-station — the garden, and within it the 
walled enclosure containing the graves of Mrs Yuille, Mrs 
Stallybrass,^ and three children. 

It was the Rev. Henry Lansdell, who in that year crossed 
Siberia from Ekaterinburg to Vladivostock. Three thousand 
volumes of Scripture, placed at his disposal by the Com- 
mittee, and 3360 more by friends at St Petersburg, were 
for the most part put in charge of Governors, officials, and 
private persons, for the benefit of schools, hospitals, prisons, 

1 Mr Stallybrass was still alive. He died at Shooter's Hill, July 1884, aged 


and the convoys of exiles, of whom from seventeen to twenty 
thousand were drafted yearly into the " penal continent." ^ At 
that date and later several thousands of copies were distri- 
buted regularly among them by devout ladies — Miss Kernig, 
Madame Strekaloff, Princess Lieven — before the chained 
droves left Moscow for the frontier ; and at Odessa, when 
the Government adopted the more humane method of trans- 
porting convicts to Saghalien by sea, the Word of God was 
provided there for their comfort and hope. 

In 1880 two colporteurs travelled along the eastern verge 
of the Urals, and two years later a couple of others reached 
as far east as Tinkalinsk, 90 miles from Omsk. For some 
time, however, it had been evident that the enormous tracts 
of Siberia could not be effectively worked from a European 
centre, and the Committee were considering the means of 
founding an agency for Central Asia, when Baron Henrik 
Wrede, son of the Governor of Vasa, was introduced to them 
as a devoted young man, who had gained some experience in 
the depot at Helsingfors. He was eager for the undertaking ; 
Irkutsk, the selected post, was reached in September 1883, 
and shortly afterwards a depot was opened with the sanction 
of the authorities. In another direction work for Siberia had 
made progress. A Wogul translation of Matthew and Mark 
by Augustus Ahlqvist — in his time the best loved lyric 
poet of the Finns — had just been printed at Helsingfors for 
the tribes east of the Urals, between Ekaterinburg and the 
Arctic Ocean. 

Returning to the centre of affairs, we note the chief 
incidents among the crowded details of the Northern Agency. 

In the summer of 1875 Mr Nicolson visited Christiania 
and Stockholm to find means of providing for the Russ 
Laplanders — some 4000 or 5000 people — who had no 

' See Lansdell, Through Siberia. A second journey to Tobolsk, Semipalatinsk, 
and Kuldja, and home through Turkestan and the Caspian, was made in 1882. 
Nearly 5CXX> copies in a dozen languages were similarly distributed. The Com- 
mittee bore the cost of transport, and contributed £,200 towards travelling expenses, 

352 IN ALL THE RUSSIAS [i8s4- 

Scriptures in their own tongue. The adaptation of the 
versions published for the Norwegian and Swedish Lapps 
proved impracticable, and the Gospel of St Matthew, 
translated by a graduate of Helsingfors, was examined by 
Lonnrot, the compiler of the Kalevala, and issued in Cyrillic 
characters in 1878. 

In 1876 the Russian people were deeply agitated by the 
oppression of their Slav fellow - Christians in the Balkan 
provinces. War against Turkey was declared in the follow- 
ing year, and the exertions of four of the Society's agencies 
during that momentous struggle have been described in an 
earlier chapter. 

At the extreme point of the promontory of Courland, the 
Livs overlooked the Gulf of Riga. Once a numerous people, 
they numbered now but 5000, mostly stalwart sailors and 
fisher - folk, who still clung to their ancient tongue. The 
agent travelled among them in 1878, and in the hope of 
attracting them to the Bible in Lettish — the language of their 
neighbours — the Liv translation of St Matthew, prepared 
for Prince Lucien Bonaparte,^ was printed in the Gothic 
characters used in Lett books, and distributed in 1880. 

In 1879 a new edition of the Kirghiz-Tartar Testament, 
slightly revised by Professor Gottwald, left the University 
press at Kazan. The language prevailed over an immense 
area. It was spoken by the Inner Tartar Horde on the 
steppe between the Volga and Ural, by the nomads who 
roamed with their sheep and camels over half a million square 
miles between the Caspian and Lake Balkash, by the high- 
landers of the Altai and the Thian Shan Mountains.^ 

' Prince Louis Lucien Bonaparte (born ist January 1 813, died 3rd November 
1891) ; an ardent philologist — the Old Mortality of decaying forms of speech. For 
many years he devoted his means to the translation of parts of the Bible into 133 
European languages and dialects, and on one of his visits to the Bible House Library 
generously presented his whole series of versions to the Society, with authority to 
revise and publish them as it might see fit. 

^ This Kirghiz-Tartar New Testament was an adaptation, by the Rev. Charles 
Fraser (of the Scottish Mission at Orenburg), of Brunton's Karass-Turki translation,-— 
See vol. i. p. 180, 


Three times in 1879 was the Czar preserved from the plots 
of the Nihilists,^ and in 1880 the Committee, moved with 
horror at crimes which outraged humanity, marked the 
twenty-fifth anniversary of his reign (2nd March) by the 
presentation of an address of sympathy and congratulation. 

In the same year thoughts were again turned to the blind 
(numbering from 160,000 to 200,000 souls), to the Finnish 
tribes in the Viatka and Kama regions, and to the Kalmuks 
on the steppe between Sarepta and the Caucasus. The Russ 
Gospel of St John and the Sermon on the Mount in Moon's 
type were ordered, and the latter was ready in 1883.^ St 
Matthew in Perm (another of Prince Lucien's versions) was in 
the press, and St Matthew in Syrjen and in Wotjak were in 
course of revision and transcription into Russ character from 
the versions of the old Russian Bible Society. The first two 
were published in 1882, the third in 1883. A Kalmuk version 
was in preparation by Professor Pozdnaieff and Archpriest 
Smirnoff of the Orthodox Mission at Astrakhan, and as the 
period closed new type was being cast for an edition of the 
four Gospels. 

On the 13th March 1881 Alexander II. was assassinated, 
and the Committee recorded their deep regret at the loss of a 
gracious patron and an enlightened and benevolent sovereign. 

The following year was marked by a memorable con- 
cession. The Holy Synod sanctioned the circulation of the 
Russ Bible in four divisions, agreed to the exclusion of the 
Apocrypha and the Septuagint readings in the canonical 
books, and printed an edition of 20,000 copies for the Society. 

^ "Nihilism,"' which designated the spirit of negation and movement of revolt 
against tradition and convention among the rising generation (University students 
and "girl-graduates" vifith cropped hair) of 1860-70, became, under the influence 
of the French Commune and the Internationale, a militant socialism. Six or seven 
years later, on the arrest and deportation of most of its propagandists, it vi^as abruptly 
transformed by a small band of desperate revolutionaries into a fanatical and destructive 
terrorism. — Leroy-Beaulieu, The Empire of the Tsars, vol. i. pp. 197-198 ; vol. ii.- 
pp. 509-510. 

2 The Gospel of St John in Finn was issued for the blind by the Committee 
in 1873. 



At this time, too, the St Petersburg Committee, who had all 
along given their help and counsel in the management of 
affairs, established a savings guarantee fund for the employes 
of the agency. 

In the Volga Valley the work now extended from Saratov 
in the south to Yaroslav and Rybinsk in the north-west. 
Descending the Dvina by a steamer conveying a crowd of 
pilgrims to the holy Solovetsk Monastery in the White Sea, 
two of the colporteurs reached Archangel in July 1883. This 
was the agency's "furthest north " in Russia. 

By a strange turn of events, it was through the departure 
of one of these men of the Volga Valley that an unex- 
pected development took place in Asiatic Russia. Johann 
Bartsch, colporteur and depositary at Saratov, belonged to 
the Mennonites, a community resembling the Society of 
Friends, who in the past had suffered much persecution. 
Oppression had ceased, but many civil disabilities survived, 
though it was not chiefly to escape from these that their 
leaders induced them to leave Russia. Peculiar Messianic 
views prevailed among them ; the day of grace, they believed, 
had drawn to an end for the countries once within the Roman 
Empire, and the elect must seek safety outside them, in the 
East. The Government sanctioned migration, and a large 
colony went forth to find a Promised Land beyond the deserts 
of Turkestan. Bartsch resigned his post and, provided with 
a stock of Scriptures, went forth with them. In January 1882 
the caravan of seventy - four waggons was winter - bound 
by "large deep masses of snow" a month's journey from 
Tashkent. He had distributed a number of Russian Gospels 
among the troops which held the chain of forts eastward from 
the Aral Sea, and had sold his stock of Hebrew Scriptures 
among the Jews. The Jews, above all, were most interesting 
to him. " They are Jews of the Lost Ten Tribes," he wrote. 
"The costume, especially of the women, is the same as that 
described to us in the Old Testament. They are waiting the 


appearance of the Messiah, the resurrection of the dead, and 
the establishment of the Kingdom of Israel." Chiefly on 
account of the Jews he again offered the Society his services. 
They were accepted. With the permit of the authorities 
Bartsch opened a depot in Tashkent, within 300 miles of 
the Chinese frontier, in a land of Szarts, Kirghiz, and 
Tartars, Hindus, Persians, and Jews. His brother Franz was 
engaged as assistant and colporteur ; freights of Scriptures 
were despatched to them by the ships of the desert ; and in 
1883, crossing the steppes in their arba (a high-wheeled, 
tented cart), they visited Samarkand, Kokand, Margilan, and 
Osh. The first year's circulation amounted to 3202 copies. 

When Dr Wood and the Secretary, the Rev. John Sharp, 
inspected the Northern Agency in the summer of 1883, they 
found nine chief depots planted in the great cities of the 
Empire, and twelve colporteurs employed for longer or 
shorter periods in the year, while sub-depots, booksellers, 
correspondents, and other societies with colporteurs and 
Biblewomen of their own, supplemented the work of the main 
system.^ The German colonies along the Volga had not 
wholly escaped the sceptical influences of the time, but the 
mass of the Russian people bowed down in reverence before 
the Inspired Word. It was cause for deep regret that the 
mere question of an alphabet obstructed the Society's labours 
among nearly two millions of people. The Lithuanian 
Scriptures were printed both in Latin and Gothic letters, but 
the use of these was forbidden, and the Lithuanians refused 
to adopt the Russian alphabet. In ten years only 756 copies 
had been circulated in Gothic and 183 in Latin type. 

An interesting event connected with this visit was the 

publication of a sixpenny New Testament in Russ — light, 

convenient in size, and more suited in its type for the scanty 

' Dep&ts : St Petersburg, Moscow, Riga, Helsingfors, Ka2an, Saratov, Samara, 
Irkutsk, Tashkent. The circulation in 1883 was 245,262 volumes in nearly seventy 
languages, and the details may be compared with those of 1873-74 (p. 348) : chief 
dep6ts, 155,710; sub-dep&ts, 24,090; colporteurs and hawkers, 20,604; corre- 
spondents, 19,354 ; various societies, 7769 ; free grants, 17,735. 

356 IN ALL THE RUSSIAS ['854- 

light of the peasant's izba in the long winter. The edition 
was readily undertaken by the Holy Synod on behalf of the 
Society, and bore the inscription, "To the Russian People." 

Meanwhile, in spite of blighted harvests and acute 
distress, the work progressed in Southern Russia. 

In May 1875 Mr Watt set out for Tiflis, where one of his 
ablest colporteurs had prepared the way for larger operations. 
With the assent of the authorities a depot was opened, and 
in the course of six months over 4000 volumes were sold. 
Among the purchasers were a Georgian bishop, a Tartar 
mollah, Armenians from British India, and Persian Jews 
from Hamadan. In July Watt crossed the Caucasus and 
arranged for Scripture stores at Vladikavkaz, at the spa 
of Pjatigorsk near Karass, at Stavropol, and at Rostov ; 
whence the railway enabled him to run through his northern 
district, opening depots at Orel, Kursk, and Voronej, and 
providing for the colportage of the Volga from Kamyshin 
to Astrakhan. Completing the wide circuit by way of the 
Caspian and Daghestan, he reached Tiflis, where a severe 
attack of fever detained him until March 1876. Rest and 
change were then needed, and after eight years of unremitting 
toil he returned to England on a four months' furlough. 

At this point we may anticipate a series of details closely 
interwoven with the events of later years. While in Tiflis 
Mr Watt met the Rev. Abraham Amirkhanjanz, son of 
Mirza Ferukh, whose picturesque career has been sketched 
in an earlier volume.^ The Mirza's mantle had fallen on 
his son ; a new edition of the Ararat Armenian Testament 
was needed, and Amirkhanjanz was intrusted with its 
revision — a re-translation indeed rather than a revision, as 

^ Vol. ii. p. 19. The Mirza died in 1855. After six years' study {1859-65) in 
the Mission Institute at Basel, Amirkhanjanz went to Constantinople, where, 
successively, as Armenian pastor, assistant in Church Missionary Society work, and 
head of an Armenian theological school, he remained till 1873. He was then 
appointed to Tabriz, but that ground had been preoccupied by the American 
missionaries, and as no satisfactory arrangements could be made, he left the Basel 
Society and repaired to Tiflis in 1875. 


the Basel missionaries had worked solely from the Ancient 
Armenian text. The task was completed, together with a 
translation of the Psalms, in 1879, and in April that year 
he began a version of the Old Testament from the Hebrew. 
Thirty-six months were allotted for the execution of that 
weighty enterprise ; its conclusion was reported early in 
1 88 1, and on the 19th October 1883 the first copies of the 
Ararat Armenian Bible were received in Tiflis. At his 
death Mirza Ferukh had left a translation of the New 
Testament in Azerbijani, the language of the numerous 
Tartar population of the Caucasus. Amirkhanjanz under- 
took the revision of it and supplied the Epistle to the 
Romans, which was missing from his father's manuscript. 
St Matthew was issued in 1877, and the whole New 
Testament in 1879 ; and in 1881 the Pentateuch had been 
translated and was ready for the censor. Here, too, it may 
be mentioned that the four Gospels in Georgian (already 
issued as a diglot with Russ by the Society for the 
Re-establishment of Christianity in the Caucasus) were 
printed at Tiflis for the agency in 1876, and large editions 
of the New Testament and the Psalter appeared in 1879. 

The excitement caused by the Turkish atrocities was at 
its height when Mr Watt resumed his post at Odessa. In 
January 1877 he initiated an extensive distribution of the 
Scriptures among the Russian forces massing in Bessarabia, 
and while the war lasted the resources of the agency were 
almost entirely devoted to the troops in Turkey and Asia 
Minor, and to the sick and wounded sent back from the 

In the summer of 1878 Mr Michael A. Morrison,^ whose 
exceptional qualifications had been discerned by Dr William 
Wright, arrived at Tiflis as superintendent of the district 
under Mr Watt, with whom he had been some mbnths at 

' Mr Morrison was born in Belfast, 20th September 1853, and was in London 
preparing for the Indian Civil Service when he met Dr Wright in 1876, 


Odessa ; and in September Mr Watt himself undertook a 
journey which included in its far-reaching issues the annexa- 
tion of Persia and the linking up of the Mediterranean 
agencies with the work in India. 

Here, for a moment, we must revert to 1869, when the 
Rev. Robert Bruce — for ten years a missionary in the 
Panjab — took up his temporary residence at Julfa, and so 
began a mission in Persia which the Church Missionary 
Society adopted in 1875. His original purpose at Julfa was 
to acquire a perfect mastery of the language, and from 1871 
he had been engaged in a revision of Henry Martyn's 
Persian New Testament. A few years later, the Committee 
communicated with him as to the possibilities of colportage 
in the dominions of the Shah, and about 1877 they charged 
themselves with the salary of the munshi who assisted him 
in his editorial task. Meanwhile an application had been 
received from the Revs. James Bassett and J. L. Potter 
of the American Mission, which had laboured since 1834 
among the Nestorian Christians at Teheran. A supply of 
Oriental Scriptures was sent out to them, with a grant of 
;^ioo for colportage. In 1877 three young men from the 
mission school travelled with the Word of God through the 
Mussulman and Armenian villages southward to Koom and 
Sultanabad, and Mr Bassett himself made the dangerous 
venture of a visit to the sacred city of Meshed, 700 miles 
away on the border of the Turkoman country. In a few 
days he sold all his books without molestation, received 
orders for two loads more, and subsequently sent a converted 
Mussulman to remain there during the year as a Christian 
teacher. With the help of a Mirza from Meshed he trans- 
lated the Gospel of St Matthew into Jaghati-Tartar or Tekke- 
Turkoman, and in 1880 saw it through the press in London. 

With one of his tried colporteurs as interpreter, Mr 
Watt left Tiflis, as we have said, in September 1878. He 
was cordially welcomed by the American missionaries at 


Urumiah, Tabriz, and Teheran, and explained to them that 
his object was to ascertain the condition of the country, the 
prospects of Bible-work, and the wishes of the missionaries. 
At Hamadan and Kermanshah he conversed with a number 
of Jewish and Armenian converts, and travelling with 
splendid horses which covered ninety or a hundred miles a 
day without strain, reached Baghdad, where he met Gabriel 
the colporteur, sent by the Bombay Auxiliary to work round 
the head of the Persian Gulf. Returning by way of Koom 
he found the Bruces at Christmas in the tree-clustered 
Armenian village of Julfa, nearly three miles south of 
Ispahan, with their congregation of about one hundred and 
fifty native Christians, schools, orphanage, and beautiful 
chapel — "the best I have seen anywhere in Persia." He 
picked out a Nestorian, Benjamin Badal, for colportage at 
Tiflis, and a bright Armenian scholar, George Mackertich, 
to be sent to Odessa for depot-training. By the middle 
of January he was in Tiflis once more. 

The results of the tour soon became apparent. The 
directors of the Church Missionary Society agreed that 
Mr Bruce should represent both themselves and the Bible 
Society, and in 1880 Persia took its place in the list of 
foreign agencies. At the same time the Caucasus became 
an independent agency under Mr Michael Morrison. 

That tract of country between the Black Sea, the Persian 
border, and the Caspian is a land of old-world story. The 
Caucasus and the snow-peaks of Ararat have their place in 
the earliest myths and the most ancient records. The chains 
of Prometheus were riveted to Mount Kazbek ; the Argonauts 
bore away the Fleece of Gold from the plains below the 
Suram Hills. Within sight of Ararat there is a lonely lake 
on whose shore was slain Nimrod, the " mighty hunter before 
the Lord." To-day the land was a hive of races and tribes 
— Russians, Tartars, Georgians, Mingrelians, Grusians, 
Imeritians, Lesghians ; and such a Babel of languages and 

36o IN ALL THE RUSSIAS [1854- 

dialects was there that no one man could ever hope to master 
them all. In Tiflis itself the civilisation and fashions of the 
West mingled with the colour and squalor of Oriental cities. 
Each trade had its own street or quarter, and each man 
carried on his industry in public. Turmoil was incessant. 
Strings of camels with their Tartar or Kirghiz drivers bore 
silks or cottons or dried fruit from Persia. A Georgian 
buffalo-cart creaked along with its huge skins of wine. 
Mules trotted past laden with charcoal. Cossacks clattered 
by with despatches. Wild Kurds from Ararat stared at the 
shops. The population of the country — including the great 
Kalmuk steppe north of the mountains, for that, too, fell 
within the agency — might be estimated at 5,000,000; of 
whom from 17 to 20 per cent., perhaps 1,000,000, could 
read. With a solitary exception,^ none of the mountain 
languages had even an alphabet, and there were primitive 
clans to whom money was unknown. Of the million readers, 
probably 300,000 were Muslim, and 700,000 Christian ; 
to wit, Georgians, Armenians, Russians — the numerous 
Russian military and official class, and the Russian colonies 
of dissenting sects — "Milk-drinkers" {Molokans), "Sab- 
batarians" {Subotnikt), "Flagellants" {Khlysti). 

It was a wild, strangely diverse, and deeply interesting 
field for Bible-work. Christianity had been introduced in 
the third century, but Christianity had taken the sword and 
had perished with the sword ; and the memory of bygone 
invasions had rooted among the Armenians a suspicious 
dread of foreign interference and a fierce intolerance of ecclesi- 
astical innovation. The Georgians, "princes, priests, and 
people," hailed with delight the new editions of their 
Scriptures ; the mollahs, high and low, watched every move- 
ment to reach their people ; but the Armenians ! — the Bible 

^ The Ossete, "a distinctly Aryan tongue," which the Ossetians themselves called 
Iranian. The Gospels and Acts had been printed some years before by the Society 
for the Re-establishment of Christianity in the Caucasus, 


colporteur was treated with more humanity by the untamed 
Lesghians of Daghestan, the Kurds, the Tartars, the Jews, 
than by his fellow-countrymen, the "faithful" sons of the 
Katholicos. There was a staff of eight colporteurs, and for 
a moment we join them in their wanderings. 

Here in the region about Erivan is Markar Arutinoff, 
at one time trudging beside his laden camel, at another 
travelling with a Persian buffalo-caravan. These are days 
of famine, but at Kulp "people without much clothing and 
with no boots are offering all their ready money — often too 
little — for Scriptures." The whole village wishes to hear 
the Word of God. Markar puts up for the night at the 
public meeting-rooms of the villages and loses no chance 
of declaring the Gospel. "I was received, by Protestants 
and Georgians alike, as an angel from heaven, and when 
I left I was accompanied on the road by nearly all, for a 
long distance." Later he falls in with the mysterious sect 
of the Yezidis, the so-called Devil - worshippers. "Their 
Sheikh cannot read or write — indeed reading is deemed a 
sin amongst them. They dare not utter the word ' Satana.' 
They give him a more euphonious name — Malaktavus ('the 
angel with the glory of the peacock ') ; " * and he tells of 
their worship, — a burnt - offering of butter and salt to a 
bronze peacock which they kissed and carried round to other 
villages to be kissed and worshipped. One man sells his 
Gospels in a mosque ; another is kindly received at an old 
Armenian monastery ; a third is cruelly beaten by priest, 
headman, and people in an Armenian village ; a fourth, 
benighted in the hills, nearly perishes in the deep snow. 
The colporteur seems ubiquitous. He is met on the Black 
Sea shore, at Kars, on the Persian frontier, at Shusha, the 
old seat of the Basel Mission, on the beetling cliffs of Gunib 

^ Markar apparently confused the two titles of the Evil Principle, Melek Taous, 
King Peacock, and JSielek el Kout, the Mighty Angel. Layard {Nineveh, vol. i. pp. 
298-301) considered the Yezidjs more nearly allied to the Sabseans than to any other 


362 IN ALL THE RUSSIAS [1854- 

(where Shamyl made his last stand), at Krasnovodsk on 
the eastern side of the Caspian. 

In March 1881 Mr Morrison visited Erzeroum, Van, 
Bitlis, and other vilayets to inquire into an alleged dearth 
of Scriptures beyond the Russian border. Everywhere the 
American missionaries were frank and kind, but it was 
clear that, with other duties filling their hands, they had 
undertaken "nothing really approaching what the Society 
understood by colportage." Among large populations with 
12 to 18 per cent, of readers the average yearly distribu- 
tion was 249 volumes as the work of four, and 409 as the 
work of six ' ' colporteurs," while on the northern plateau 
of Kurdistan and along the great rivers there were, outside 
the pale of actual missionary effort, 40,000 or 50,000 Yezidis, 
whose sympathies were Christian ^ and who abhorred Islam. 

The journey was cut short by severe attacks of ague and 
malarial fever ; and hastening to Aleppo and the coast, Mr 
Morrison returned in serious ill-health to England. 

Southern Russia was not to remain long in its more 
compact and manageable form. On the lamented death of 
Mr Palmer Davies in i88i, Mr Watt was appointed as his 
successor in Germany. The efficiency of his assistants 
enabled him to retain charge of his old post until April 
1882. Mr Morrison was then transferred to Odessa, with 
Mr Amirkhanjanz as his second-in-command at Tiflis ; and 
when the period closed the South Russian Agency had 
expanded beyond even its earlier colossal dimensions. For 
two of the colporteurs, Stepanoff and Karapetoff, had crossed 
the Caspian, joined a caravan at Askabad, and traversing for 
a fortnight the sandy desert round the ancient beds of the 
Oxus, beheld with enchantment the green trees and fields 
and watered gardens of Khiva. For a week they had 
explored the capital of the old Khorasmian Khans, and then 

' "They hold the Old Testament in great reverence.'' "Christ, according to 
them, was also a great Angel, who had taken the form of man. He did not die on 
the cross, but ascended to heaven." — Layard, loc. cit. 


proceeded with military passes to Bokhara. At that moment 
Johann Bartsch, in his tented arba, was at Samarkand, hardly 
200 miles away beyond the hills on the east. They sold 319 
copies, and brought back news of a land open to the Gospel, 
in which many could read, old and young. Thus, "from 
the forests and fens of Volhynia, where Bendzulla worked, to 
Karapetoff's camping-ground on the banks of the Oxus, it 
was a long stretch of nearly three thousand miles." 

In 1883, for the first time the annual circulation of South 
Russia exceeded 100,000 copies. For the first time the Russ 
Bible (in five parts) was in circulation. The first copies of 
the Ararat-Armenian Bible were received in October. The 
translation of the Azerbijani Bible was completed, and 
the American missionaries, giving up a separate version 
they had begun, joined with Amirkhanjanz in his final 

In the autumn Mr J. Bevan Braithwaite and the Rev. 
Charles E. B. Reed, the Secretary, visited Odessa and Tiflis, 
and made an appreciative report of all they saw. In the 
Caucasus the fanatical Armenians had attempted to excite the 
suspicions of the Government against the Society. The press 
strongly dissented. Describing the work of the agency, the 
leading Armenian paper, the Mishak ("Workman "), declared 
that " not even the twelve Apostles could have taken greater 
trouble or gone through a more severe struggle " ; and the 
Chief of the Civil Administration, General Starolelski, made 
the encouraging statement: "We know perfectly well that 
if the Mohammedans become Christians they will be good 
subjects ; and in this our aim and the aim of the Bible 
Society are the same."^ 

During the period, 1854-84, the entire circulation of the 
Russian agencies was 4,383,967 copies of Scripture in about 

' In the five years from 1879-80 there were 80,027 copies of Scripture distributed 
from Tiflis. In 1883, 1000 Georgian Testaments, signed for by a thousand boys and 
girls, were given away to the poorer national schools in three provinces. 

364 IN ALL THE RUSSIAS [1854-1884] 

seventy languages.^ During its briefer existence as an 
agency, Odessa (with Tiflis) distributed 1,197,380. In the 
first fifteen years of the period £^'i,^ was spent on col- 
portage ; in the second, ;^ 16, 3 13. In 1883 over forty men 
were employed. 

The entire expenditure was £j,Z^,'2.^9- The receipts 
amounted to ;^ 183, 863. 

The ratio of adult readers in Russia had increased from 
2 per cent, in 1850 to 11 per cent, in 1881, and the number of 
school children had been doubled. In that great change the 
Society's agencies had taken no insignificant part. 

Thus for thirty years the Scriptures were spread in that 
vast Empire which covers a portion of the globe larger than 
the face of the moon at the full. The expansion during the 
period was marvellous. In 1854-55 no more than 6818 
copies were issued. By 1873-74 an aggregate of over 
1,000,000 had been distributed ; the second million was 
reached in 1877-78; in 1880-81 the number exceeded three 
and a quarter millions ; in 1883-84, as we have seen,'the total 
for the period was, in round numbers, 4,384,000. In the 
first fifteen years the expenditure was ;^30,995 ; in the 
second, ;^305,254. 

From the formation of the first agency in 1828 nearly 
four and three quarter millions of copies had been put into 

' In addition, 961,495 copies were despatched between 1875 and 1884 to other 
^encies, and accounted for by them. 



In 1880 Persia took its place in the list of foreign agencies. 
The action of the Committee was a timely encouragement 
to the missionaries, for in that very year they were officially 
warned that open attempts to spread Christianity would be 
visited with expulsion from the country. Julfa was meant 
to be the chief centre of operations, but the first step was 
to establish a footing at Baghdad. Geographically that 
romantic city lay well within the Turkish frontier ; it was 
therefore a place of retreat and safety in the event of 
troubles in Persia. Religiously it was Persian of the 
Persians — the storied gateway to the holy places of the 
Shiah creed. Countless caravans of pilgrims from Persia, 
Russia, India, passed through it yearly to the tomb of AH 
at Nejef, the shrine of Hoseyn at Kerbela, near the ruins 
of Babylon, and the mausoleum of Kazim the seventh 
Imam. Kerbela was encompassed by a mighty host of 
the dead, brought from all parts to be laid in its hallowed 
earth. 1 After an adventurous two months' journey with 
George Mackertich, who had returned to Julfa, Mr Bruce 
reached Baghdad. Premises were found for a depot ; the 
young Armenian was installed ; and Benjamin Badal — 
"mighty in the Scriptures," a preacher in five languages — 
was sent from Tiflis to join him. 

' The pilgrims numbered from 60,000 to 100,000 a year. About four thousand of 
the dead were brought yearly for burial. On his journey to Baghdad Mr Bruce 
passed a night at a caravanserai where there were four hundred corpses en route for 
Kerbela. The nearer the grave to the mosque, the nearer the dead would be to 
Hoseyn on the day of resurrection — the higher, too, the price charged by the moUahs, 


In June 1881 Mr Bruce landed in England, bringing 
with him his Persian New Testament, the fruit of ten 
years' labour. Once more the text was revised, with the 
assistance of Professor Palmer, whose last work it was 
before his departure on the political mission which led to 
his tragic death. ^ An edition of 6000 copies left the press 
in 1882, and the Dublin University conferred, honoris causd, 
the degree of D.D. on "the zealous missionary it had given 
to the East." At the May meeting he described the little 
persecuted Jewish congregation at Hamadan, which had 
been led to Christ by the reading of the Scriptures alone, 
and his intercourse at Shiraz with a dozen Mohammedans, 
' ' very anxious to speak to him about the Word of God " ; 
and announced that the Church Missionary Society had 
arranged to station a missionary at Baghdad in the service 
of both societies. The Rev. Bernard Maimon, a Jewish 
convert of Trieste, was the first to fill that post. 

In November Dr Bruce returned to Julfa. During his 
absence his recently appointed colleague, Dr Hoernle, had 
supervised two colporteurs working in the villages between 
Ispahan and Burujird ; depots had been opened in several 
towns ; and George Mackertich and Benjamin had made 
expeditions to Basra and Bushire, the great emporium of 
the trade with India. Much of Dr Bruce's time was 
given up to the revision of the Persian Old Testament, and 
in 1883 Genesis, Exodus, and part of the book of Psalms 
were completed ; but he was able to visit Kumeshah, where 
for four days he had discussions with the Babis,^ a curious 
Mohammedan sect who accepted the doctrine of the Trinity 
and the genuineness of the Scriptures, but believed in 

' He succeeded in detaching the tribes east of Suez from Arabi during the 
rebellion, and while employed in other negotiations was murdered, with two 
English officers, by Bedouin robbers in Wady Sudr, nth August 1882. His remains 
were recovered and interred in St Paul's. 

^ Founded by Mirza Ali Muhammad, born in Shiraz, 1820. In 1844 he 
assumed the title of 5oi— "the Gate" to the True Way, and was put to death in 
1850. Cruel persecution has multiplied the sect, till it now numbers nearly a million 
adherents. — WoUaston, The Sword 0/ Islam, pp. 471-476. 


"many incarnations, many suffering Messiahs, one in spirit 
but differing in form." 

In 1883, too, Bisfiop French of Lahore, on his way to 
England, travelled with the Baghdad men from Bushire to 
Julfa,^ and bore impressive testimony to the reality and 
efficacy of the Society's work. 

When the period closed, six colporteurs were at work — 
from Bushire to Hamadan (the northern provinces were 
in charge of the American missionaries) ; from Baghdad, a 
month's journey west, to Kerman, a month's journey east, 
of Ispahan; and the circulation had risen to 7177 copies a 
year. The expenditure since 1879-80 had been ;^3i32, and 
the receipts had amounted to ;^572. 

Let us turn, however, from statistics to the living pages 
of old letters and diaries. "In the desert," on the way to 
Kerbela, wrote Mr Maimon — "in the desert, where we are 
at present encamped in tents, on the highway to Babylon 
and by one of its giant rivers, the Tigris — perhaps (who 
knows?) on the very same spot where thousands of years 
ago the Jewish captives hung up their silent harps on the 
willows, refusing to sing Jehovah's song on a foreign soil, 
and vowing never to forget Jerusalem — I am now sitting 
with five who possibly may be direct descendants of those 
who afterwards refused to return to their own land. These 
men came to spend the day with me. Had Professor 
Delitzsch seen the tears that rolled down from their eyes 
on my reading to them from his translation our Saviour's 
touching words from Matthew xxiii. 37-38 [0 Jerusalem, 
Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets], I am sure he would 
feel a thousand times compensated for his labours . . . He 
has laid bis genius at the feet of his great Master, and his 
Master is using it here in Baghdad." 

1 He confirmed sixty-seven members of the Julfa congregation, and ordained for 
them a pastor (Armenian) from among themselves — the first Anglican confirmation 
and ordination in Persia. 


Pass from Kerbela to Ispahan and to Benjamin, who has 
the gift of tongues. Mollah and Syed and Sheikh bluster 
in vain. "These books contain blasphemies, and must 
not be sold to Mohammedans." " Aga, you had better buy 
one of these New Testaments, and see whether it contains 
blasphemies." "These books must not be sold here; take 
them to Julfa, and sell them to the Armenians." "Aga 
Sheikh, these books are sold in every country, and here too 
they must be sold. We have Armenian books for Julfa ; 
these are printed especially for Mohammedans." "We do 
not want them." " Aga Sheikh, do not buy them." "Take 
him to the Naib-ul-Hukumat (the deputy-magistrate)." At 
the house of the Naib there is mourning for Hoseyn. 
"They took me in among crowds. I sold a Gospel there." 
He is forbidden and dismissed, sells again, is again taken 
before the Sheikh and sent to the Naib until the matter is 
laid before the Prince ; who decides — " Wherever they wish, 
let them take and sell their books, except in the bazaars of 
Ispahan." " Very well, your honour, I am now going away 
on a journey for two months, but, please God, I will return 
and sell my books here again." So, away to Yezd, where 
he meets friendly Babis, Jews, Guebers (Fire-worshippers) ; 
to Shiraz, where he sells 106 copies in two hours ; to Fasa, 
where, "as these were very precious books," he is paid in 
newly-coined krans, "in order that they might not be bad 
ones." Then, on to Nehavend, a quaint old town among 
the mountains on the way to Hamadan — where he is decoyed 
by the High Priest and horribly bastinadoed. " Did we not 
tell you last year, Kaffir (Infidel), not to bring these books? 
Throw him down, and beat him to death ! " " When I went 
and showed my feet to the Governor, he pitied me very 
much, but told me he could do nothing at all, because the 
Imam Juma had done it, but advised me to telegraph to 
my chief. . . . When I think of those who will come after 
me, and be able to sell the Holy Word freely, I feel very 

1884] "FOR CHRIST'S SAKE" 369 

glad and comforted for this suffering for Christ's sake. The 
same day I was able, by God's grace and help, to sell eight 
copies in that bigoted town." 

O shade of Henry Martyn, musing under the orange- 
tree of Shiraz ! 

VOL. III. 2 A 



India was little prepared for the large and enthusiastic 
projects of which people at home dreamed at the Jubilee. 
The outlook was for the most part quickset with difficulties, 
with impossibilities ; of which the worst seems now, in the 
long retrospect, to have been lack of the vision and initiative 
which distinguish the born Bible agent. The Society, wrote 
the honorary secretary of the Calcutta Auxiliary,^ was still 
to regard translation and the supplying of Scriptures to the 
missionaries as its main work. In Bengal an independent 
agency was premature, colportage on an extensive scale 
impracticable. The schoolmaster must first prepare the way 
for the Bibleman. As for the Bibleman, even among the 
4 per cent, of the population who could read, "the living 
voice" was required "to open the mystery of the Gospel." 
An experiment, however, was made in colportage, on the 
principle of sale, and while the liberal grants of the Com- 
mittee enabled the missionaries to leave the usual waterways 
for inland excursions, Mr C. Vernieux, an East Indian trader, 
worked in and around the capital under the direction of the 
Calcutta Bible Association, and the missionaries at Burdwan 
and Krishnagar took charge of four Indian Christians. The 
Bible Association itself distributed some 3000 copies a year 
through various workers, and forwarded supplies for sale 
at the military station of Toungoo in Burma, to German 
ships touching at Rangoon, and among the Armenians at 
Rangoon and Ava. 

1 The Rev. J. C. Herdman, who had succeeded Mr Macleod Wylie in 1854. 


The Bombay Auxiliary counted on the co-operation of 
friends at the out-stations and the development of missionary 
tours. The Marathi Bible was placed in native libraries and 
book-clubs ; the Government accepted an offer of English 
Scriptures for travellers' bungalows. Liberal grants were 
made to schools, and copies were distributed among the 
coolies migrating to Mauritius. But a colportage system 
under central control was pronounced impracticable ; the 
country was not ready for it ; it was unsuited to the climate 
and the vast extent of territory with its tracts of desert. 
A more favourable impression, however, was produced 
by direct correspondence with a number of missionaries, 
and encouraging results were obtained with a few native 

A more sanguine spirit prevailed in the North -West 
Provinces. In the dearth of men the Agra Auxiliary did its 
best with chosen converts ; and the missionaries, of whom 
there were now about a hundred, were urged to more frequent 
excursions with their catechists. No large operations were 
attempted, but a promising receptivity was shown by the 
people, among whom there was a noticeable increase in the 
number of inquirers. Villagers came to obtain the Scriptures 
and to ask questions regarding the new religion. Near 
Jabalpur a pundit who read the New Testament with 
wonder and delight called his neighbours together to hear 
its glad tidings. Meetings were held nightly ; the little 
company learned to pray ; several gave up their idol worship. 
Then three presented themselves for baptism ; the rest were 
too timid to profess Christ openly. 

At Madras the suggestions from home were welcomed 
in a spirit of unhesitating co-operation. The appointment 
of two colportage superintendents — one for the Telugu, the 
other for the Tamil country, — and the organisation of as 
large a staff of picked men as could be found, were proposed 
by the Auxiliary and readily sanctioned by the Committee, 


who undertook the whole cost of the scheme. In 1856 
the work was a-swing, with upwards of a score of Indian 
converts working under Mr T. Hedger of Trichinopoly as 
Tamil superintendent. 

Besides this, each of the Auxiliaries had its new versions 
and revisions in progress, and its Jubilee and other editions 
passing through the press — a matter of nearly twenty 

Such was the complexion of affairs when time brought 
round the annual gathering of the Society on 6th May 1857. 
"There is nothing novel, or special, in this anniversary," 
was the remark of Lord Shaftesbury, as he briefly opened 
the meeting ; but at the moment he spoke a number of the 
Bengal cavalry at Meerut were on trial for insubordination, 
and Northern India was vibrating with sedition. Four days 
later the Sepoys fired on their officers and burned down the 
European quarters, and the Indian Mutiny began. 

Few details of those orgies of treachery and massacre 
need darken these pages. On the 5th July the Rev. J. L. Scott, 
honorary secretary of the Agra Auxiliary, saw the gallant 
remnant of Polwhele's eight hundred fall back before the 
rebels. "On taking refuge in the fort our soldiers raised 
a feeble cheer, more mournful to our ears than even the 
groans of the wounded and dying. It was a sad sight we 
witnessed that evening from our ramparts — our houses in 
flames, our public buildings, everything that could be burned, 
and the Bible House with the rest." 

For twelve anxious weeks the fort of Agra sheltered one of 
the motliest of British colonies : men, women, and children 
of our own race, nuns from the banks of the Loire and 
Garonne, priests from Rome and Sicily, missionaries from 
the Ohio and Basel, mingled with tumblers, equestrians, 
and rope-dancers from Paris, pedlars from America, and 
some hundreds of loyal Hindus and Mohammedans ; in all, 
6000 souls. Once more, on the 6th October, the insurgents 


marched upon Agra. By the gracious interposition of 
Providence,^ Greathed's flying column from Delhi swept 
in "just an hour before they came." The enemy, taken 
unawares, was utterly routed, and chased over ten blood- 
stained miles. 

Ten days afterwards, amid rumours of an attack from 
Gwalior, Mr Scott appealed to the Committee for supplies, 
for paper, for help to build a new depot. The old one was 
"a blackened ruin"; the stock of versions, English and 
Arabic, Persian, Afghan, Urdu, Hindi, and Sanskrit had 
vanished. Later advices showed the North-West Provinces 
clean swept of the Word of God. Everything had been 
destroyed at Fathipur, Banda, Cawnpore, Fathigarh, 
Farukhabad, Mainpuri. Printing offices, stocks of paper, 
books — the new Allahabad edition of 5000 Testaments ; 
10,000 copies each of Matthew, John, Luke, and the Acts ; 
large quantities of Old Testament portions ; all in Hindi, 
the tongue of the common people — had perished in the 
wreck ; a consignment of 700 English Bibles never reached 
their destination ; and the only money in possession of the 
Auxiliary was 16,000 rupees, most of which was due to the 
printers of Agra, Allahabad, and Ludhiana for work done. 
The Old Testament in Hindustani, the language of the cities 
and of the Moslem population in the North -West, had 
been printed at Mirzapur, and escaped with the press and 
stock of paper in that city ; and 1000 Hindi Old Testa- 
ments were stored in the depot of the Calcutta Auxiliary 
at Monghyr, though for long Monghyr itself was not free 
from danger, and Mr Smith, the depositary, was one of 
about forty Europeans on whose nightly vigilance the safety 
of the station depended. 

But even from this widespread destruction more good 

^ To those who passed through the Mutiny this was no figure of speech. 
Again and yet again in their extremity men saw the overruling of a Divine Will. 
" Nothing," said John Lawrence, "but a series of miracles saved us. . . . To Him 
alone be all the praise ! " 


assuredly came than will ever be recorded. Copies of 
Scripture found among the loot of Delhi led to the con- 
version of a number of men in a regiment of Mazhabi Sikhs 
— "half Thugs, the rest thieves," as they were described. 
Books left at the village of MuUiana near Meerut were read 
by the villagers ; day by day they assembled with their 
children to worship the God of the Covenant ; finally they 
were instructed by a catechist, and built themselves a church. 
Twenty-five years after the horrors of Cawnpore a missionary 
fell into talk with a priest in his village temple, who followed, 
he said, the Matthew shastra. The missionary was puzzled 
till he was shown the Gospel of St Matthew, picked up in 
Agra when the depot and printing-press were destroyed. 
' ' When I got home here I began to read the book, and 
found it the best Hitopadesa I had ever seen. I read it to 
several people, and they all thought it an excellent Book of 
Good Counsel ; so I have remained here ever since, reading 
it to them. If I find a better, I will follow it." The priest 
then explained how the shastra was read. " First we read 
the prayer in the sixth chapter. Then we read about half a 
page anywhere. After that we have some talk about the 
passage. Then we read the prayer in the sixth chapter 
again. That is all." Thus from no evangelist but the 
Evangelist an Indian village had learned to pray as our Lord 

In the thick of the Mutiny, when death was expected 
every hour, a leaf torn from the Word of Life carried assur- 
ance of protection to two English ladies and some little 
children, kept close prisoners at Sitapur. One of the 
children fell seriously ill, and the guards allowed a native 
doctor to send in some medicine. It was wrapped in a piece 
of printed paper, a fragment from the fifty-first chapter of 
Isaiah : — 

" I, even I, am he that comforteth you : who art thou that thou shouldst 
be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made 
as grass; 


And forgettest the Lord thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, 
and laid the foundations of the earth ; and hast feared continually every day 
because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy ? and 
where is the fury of the oppressor ? 

The captive exile hasteneth, that he may be loosed, and that he shall not 
die in the pit, nor that . . ." 

From the moment they read those words a great trust in "the 
everlasting arms " drove out all fear of danger until they were 

In response to the first appeals from India large sums 
of money and supplies of paper and Scriptures in various 
languages were instantly voted ; but as printing could not 
be done in India either in the quantities or with the speed 
required, editions in Hindi and Urdu were undertaken in 
London, and in 1859 120,000 New Testaments, separate 
Gospels, and Acts left the press under the editorship of the 
Revs. R. Cotton Mather, T. Hoernle, and J. F. Ullmann. 
The liabilities incurred by the Committee in covering losses 
and starting afresh on a more extensive scale were estimated 
at ;^i2,ooo to ;^i5,ooo. Up to 31st March 1859 the sub- 
scriptions to a special fund for India amounted to no more 
than ;^62i9, but out of consideration for the appeals from the 
Missionary Societies, on whose well-being so much depended, 
the claims of the Bible cause were not urgently pressed.^ 

Throughout these anxious times the Christian public at 
home noted with joy that the first check to the wild rage of 
rebellion was given by the great Christian administrator. Sir 
Henry Lawrence ; the final check, before retribution began, 
by "the saints" of the "preaching, praying, psalm-singing 
Baptist," Sir Henry Havelock.^ Besides these, one gladly 
remembers now, there were in the North- West Provinces 
such men as Sir William Muir, in charge of the Intelligence 

1 The fund dosed in l868; total, £l(i2\. 

^ Havelock's Bible, used for many years by himself and his wife, Hannah, 
daughter of Carey's colleague Marchman, went through all his fortunes, and was 
bequeathed with his sword to his son. Sir Henry Havelock-AUen, afterwards killed on 
the Indian frontier. 


Service at Agra ; Major-General Hutchinson, then one of the 
young engineers who defended the residency of Lucknow 
and took part in the capture of the city ; C. B. Leupolt of the 
Church Missionary Society, who, when supplies ran short at 
Benares, rode fearlessly into the country and got the peasants 
to bring in their corn and cattle ; Bishop Cowie, at that time 
an army chaplain, who marched with Sir Colin Campbell to 
Lucknow, — all of whose names were afterwards closely con- 
nected with the Society.^ 

The Indian Mutiny brought the beginning of a new day 
for Christianity in the East. The Churches were aroused 
to the need of a more strenuous evangelisation. The British 
Government awakened to a new sense of its responsibility 
as the Christian overlord of a continent which included 
many countries, kingdoms, languages, creeds. The charge 
of Lord Ellenborough, that Canning's support of missions 
was the cause of the outbreak, was indignantly repudiated by 
Indian gentlemen of the highest standing at a meeting in 
Calcutta.^ At home it was pointed out that the region of 
this rebellion was not the Presidency of Madras, where for 
many years the Bible had been drawing the natives into 
Christian communion, nor that of Bombay, where the 
Scriptures had been freely circulated and large numbers 
of Sepoys had attended Bible classes, but "the Brahminical 
Presidency of Bengal," where caste was encouraged, where 
the missionary "was forbidden to show his face within the 
limits of the space allotted to the troops," and even the 
chaplain was debarred from giving instruction to the natives 
in the Word of God. "European history," said one Indian 

1 Sir W. Muir, author of The Life of Mahomet, The Caliphate, etc., Vice-President 
from 1881, died in July 1905. General Hutchinson, a member of the Committee 
from 1890, died in December 1899. Bishop Cowie, Vice-President from 1872, died 
in July 1902, a few days after resigning the Bishopric of Auckland and the Primacy of 
New Zealand. Mr Leupolt, who was a favourite volunteer in the Norfolk District, 
died in 1884. 

^ The Governor-General had aided education in some of the mission schools, and 
in 1856 had subscribed £2<^ to the Bible Society in furtherance of linguistic work ; to 
missions, as such, he had not subscribed. — Stock, History of the Church Missionary 
Society, vol, ii. p. 223. 


speaker, "does not bear on its record the mention of a 
class of men who suffered so many sacrifices in the cause 
of humanity and education as the Christian mission- 
aries in India." "The people know the Government 
is a Christian one," wrote a distinguished Hindu man of 
science; "let it act openly as a true Christian; the people 
will never feel themselves disappointed, they will only admire 
it." Most significant perhaps of all, though it was believed 
in Northern India that British rule was at an end and 
that the Christian religion had perished with it, a great 
many of the people carefully preserved their Scriptures and 
read them. 

On the 1st November 1858 the famous proclamation of 
Queen Victoria, published by Lord Canning, the first Viceroy, 
placed the Government of India on a basis at once Christian 
and tolerant. ' ' Firmly relying on the truth of Christianity, 
and acknowledging with gratitude the solace of religion, 
we disclaim alike the right and the desire to impose our 
convictions on any of our subjects." Conversion was no 
longer to be penalised. Posts under the Crown were thrown 
open to all qualified subjects, irrespective of creed or class. 
Christian officials were at liberty to avow their faith and 
openly to impart its truth to others. The Christian world 
was no longer to be refused a day of humiliation while 
Government offices were closed for the festival of the blood- 
thirsty goddess Kali. 

Before passing from these tragic provinces, we note that 
the North India Auxiliary was transferred with the seat 
of Government from Agra to Allahabad. All hearts were 
uplifted with the sense of a wonderful deliverance, and work 
was resumed in the vivid consciousness of a divine com- 
mission. In the bazaars, at the swarming melas, in the 
school villages — among Hindus, Sikhs, and Mohammedans 
— there was such a demand for the Scriptures as had never 


been seen before. In i860 the North India Auxiliary was in 
a position to send home ;^iooo in grateful acknowledgment 
of the large editions which the Society had provided with 
such prompt liberality. 

Branch depots were opened in quick succession at 
Benares, Lucknow, Agra, Shajehanpur, Aligarh, Delhi, 
Meerut, Lahore. By means of a large subsidy from the 
Committee colportage was taken up systematically in 1862,^ 
and two years later thirty-three earnest Indian Christians 
were spreading the Word of God over the whole district in 
which the Mutiny had raged with such malignant ferocity. 
The principle of sale was adopted, with the usual temporary 
fall and subsequent stable increase of circulation ; and though 
the missionaries were left a free hand, they were reminded 
that colportage was frustrated wherever gratis distribution 

In 1863 the Hon. E. Drummond, Lieutenant-Governor of 
the North- West Provinces, accepted the position of patron 
of the Auxiliary, and identified himself with the cause by 
sanctioning the introduction of the Scriptures into colleges 
and schools through the Ministry of Public Instruction. It 
was a red-letter year. In January an Auxiliary for the 
Panjab, which originated in a proposal at the missionary 
conference, was founded at Lahore, with the Lieutenant- 
Governor, Sir R. Montgomery, as patron, Mr D. F. M'Leod, 
C.B., as president, and Mr A. Thomson as secretary. Its 
depot was equipped with a stock of Panjabi and Pashtu Scrip- 
tures from the North India Auxiliary ; an Urdu Testament 
in Persian character was in its own press ; it awaited the 
Tibetan version of the Moravian missionaries at Kailang. 
Already it ranged in spirit through the famous passes by 
which the merchandise of the West entered Central Asia. 

In 1868 the North India Auxiliary held its first public 

^ The cost of two colporteurs was borne with his accustomed generosity by Mr R. 
Arthington of Leeds. 


anniversary with brilliant success. By the end of the year 
almost every district in the North -West Provinces was 
included in the scope of its colporteurs. During the interval 
1854-68 upwards of 164,300 copies of Scripture had been 
circulated — 20,800 in the first five years; 50,700 in the 
second ; 92,700 in the third. A new Central Depot or Bible 
House, which was shared by the Vernacular Education and 
the North India Tract Societies, was completed in 1869. 
The site had been granted, free of ground-rent charges, by 
the new Lieutenant-Governor, Sir William Muir, who, as 
member of committee and president, had been one with the 
Auxiliary from its formation, and who was now its patron. 
At this point we leave for the present the region of the 
disastrous uprising. 

Happily, the work of the Calcutta Auxiliary was scarcely 
checked by the Mutiny. For two anxious months colportage 
was suspended, and in 1858 the circulation reached the lowest 
point for eight years (25,267 copies), but the most serious 
effect of the rebellion was the sombre revival of racial antipathy 
among Hindus and Mohammedans, and a deeper resentment 
against the religion of a conquering nation. In the hearts 
of the people themselves, however, there was a feeling of 
despair which cried to Bibleman and missionary for some- 
thing their own gods could not give them. "It is true," 
said a Bairagi at Madhapur, "we find no peace in our 
gods; our hearts remain in uncertainty." "Our books 
contradict each other," confessed a pundit at Madhubani, 
"so our hearts become uneasy; peace is not to be found 
with our gods ; the way of life is not shown in our books." 
"You are the lords of the country," said a Brahmin, "why 
then do you keep Jagannath? Does not your rule extend 
to Puri? Then cast him down, and none will raise him up 
again." "Shall we indeed overthrow your gods? Will you 
not rise up against us?" " Nahin, nahin," many answered, 
"we shall be glad of it." "We do not make Christians by 


force," said the missionary, "as also you have heard in the 
proclamation of our Queen." "Sir, to make Christians is 
one thing, to ease people of their burden is another ; to all 
of us Jagannath is a great burden." From his village in 
the jungle ten miles away an ascetic came that he might 
learn how to pray. Others, like Nicodemus, came at night 
to ask for books — "We are four who seek the true God." 
On the roadside was seen a leper who cried aloud, "Hallowed 
be the name of Jesus Christ ! " 

In addition to the ordinary circulation, consignments in 
English were sent for distribution in the military hospitals 
and among the regiments in the North - West Provinces, 
while supplies in various European languages were provided 
for the naval brigades and companies of seamen guarding 
the stations from which the regular garrisons had been 

On the 2nd January 1858, in his eightieth year, died 
the beloved patron of the Auxiliary, Dr Wilson, Bishop 
of Calcutta, who as minister of St John's, Bedford Row, 
and Vicar of Islington, had been an enthusiastic supporter 
of the Society long before he became Bishop and Vice- 
President. His successor, Bishop Cotton, "the young 
master in Tom Brown's School Days," accepted the same 
positions in regard to the Society and the Calcutta Auxiliary. 
Mr Macleod Wylie became president of the latter in 1859 
on the retirement of Mr Edward Currie. 

The Auxiliary celebrated its jubilee in 1861 — an event 
marked by the publication of the revised Bengali Bible 
issued for the first time in a single volume. The oldest of 
the Oriental Bible Societies, Calcutta had issued 1,041,910 
copies of Scripture, and its annual average of circulation 
had risen from 10,000 copies in the first to 32,000 in the 
second twenty-five years of the half-century. 

Owing to pressure of pastoral work — and the pressure 
was felt on all sides — the Rev. J. C. Herdman resigned 


before the end of i86i, and his place as secretary was taken 
by the Rev. Dr Mullens. In 1864 Mr Macleod Wylie, 
whose connection with the Auxiliary dated from 1842, left 
India in broken health, and was succeeded as president by 
the Hon. G. Loch. In the following year the Rev. J. H. 
Broadbent succeeded Dr Mullens, who had been called 
to England to the foreign secretaryship of the London 
Missionary Society. 

As time passed the need for consecrated men became 
more and still more urgent. Excellent Bible-work was done 
by the missionaries in their itinerations, and colportage was 
gradually extending (besides Mr Vernieux, there were seven 
men busy at Burdwan and Baukura, in Jessore, and at 
Bogra, new ground beyond the Great Ganges), but outside 
the mission circuits — not in Bengal alone — lay vast districts 
which the Committee were eager to enter without adding 
to missionary burdens or interfering with the operations 
of the Auxiliaries. Accordingly Colonel Lamb was com- 
missioned as the first of two or three agents who should 
travel through the Indian Presidencies, confer with the 
Auxiliary committees, missionaries, and other friends, see 
for themselves the condition of these unvisited districts, 
and organise a comprehensive and efficient system of 

Heartily welcomed to Calcutta in the summer of 1864, 
Colonel Lamb travelled 3000 miles into the North- West, sold 
some 1200 copies of Scripture in eighty towns and villages, 
and visited eighteen mission stations in the hope of securing 
colporteurs. In 1866, though suffering and weak, he added 
nearly 2000 miles to his journeys. His search extended to 
Gujarat in the west, and to Kotgarh in the highlands beyond 
Simla. It was a heart-breaking quest. The Missions could 
not spare any of their native workers, even for a week or a 
fortnight. Few of the lower class converts were eligible. 
Caste prevented the better class from selling even the Word 


of God, though with a coolie to carry the books they did 
not object to distribute them gratis. On the principle of 
sale, however, the Colonel was inflexible. The broad result 
of indiscriminate free distribution he described as "a wanton 
destruction of the Sacred Scriptures," and his views were 
endorsed by the American Presbyterian missionaries, who 
decided in conference at Ambala that no more copies should 
be given away. The Committee allowed the experiment 
to drop, and the Colonel embarked for England. Long 
residence in the East had undermined his constitution, and 
anxiety and disappointment preyed upon his spirits. He 
fell ill during the voyage, and died at sea. 

Another enterprise undertaken about the same time had 
a more prosperous issue. In 1863 the Committee adopted 
and extended to the whole of India a scheme proposed 
by Dr Murdoch of the Vernacular Education Society for 
offering, with the co-operation of the missionaries, a New 
Testament to every schoolmaster, and the Gospel of St 
Luke to every schoolboy who could read, throughout the 
North-West Provinces. Though the great majority of the 
missionaries in the area of the Calcutta Auxiliary thought 
more harm than good would come of the project, and only 
five gave their assistance, 4232 villages were visited — some 
where the Word of God had never been seen before, some 
in which there were neither schools nor readers, a very few 
in which the gift was refused by the teacher or withheld 
from the taught, and 3273 Testaments and 14,524 Gospels 
were distributed at a total cost, including a large edition 
in Bengali specially printed, of Rs. 15,398. The figures for 
North India and Bombay have not been given, but in 
Madras at least 3500 copies were circulated, and, a few 
years later, those who had ridiculed the idea of trusting 
the Gospel to heathens were rebuked by the baptism of 
teachers and their Brahmin and Vellalan friends, and the 
voluntary introduction of the Scriptures as class-books into 



heathen schools. Even to-day the project may appear 
fanciful, but it was the inspiration of a moment when the 
very missionaries seemed to doubt the efficacy of the 
Written Word without the exposition of the preacher, and 
when thoughtful Indians were themselves protesting against 
a system of secular education before which the ancient 
idolatries were drifting away, while the Government, too 
punctiliously neutral to teach the principles of a purer 
faith, left their children exposed to an almost inevitable 

Meanwhile the Calcutta Bible Association had laboured 
among all races, creeds, and classes. Outside the capital 
its operations had extended from Dacca to Cawnpore. It 
had circulated up to 1861 nearly 126,700 copies of Scripture 
in the tongues of East and West, but latterly difficulties 
had arisen through decline of revenue. In 1867, the forty- 
fifth year of its activity, the heavy debt which it had con- 
tracted with the Calcutta Auxiliary was cancelled by the 
amalgamation of the two bodies. Its staff of colporteurs 
provided the Auxiliary with men for larger undertakings, 
and in 1868 a happy impulse was given by one of its 
old members, Lieutenant-Colonel Roxburgh, who placed 
;^2000 in charge of the Parent Society for investment, and 
arranged for the Calcutta committee to spend the proceeds 
on colportage in the Presidency. The service was thoroughly 
reorganised, and during the next thirty-six years the 
Roxburgh Colportage Fund brought in ^3938 towards its 

At this point midway through the period, we may note 
that in the course of the fifteen years the Committee des- 
patched to Calcutta 6750 reams of paper and 45,720 copies 
of Scripture, in various languages but chiefly English, 

^ Happily, the exclusion of the Scriptures from the Government schools prompted 
many young people to obtain them for themselves. On the suggestion of the Rev. 
J. Long steps were taken to present the New Testament to every native author and 
editor in the Bengal Presidency, but nothing further is reported. 


and voted subsidies — including ;^35oo for colportage and 
;£^5oo for the Murdoch scheme — to the extent of ;£22,i'jo. 

The yearly issues were still considerably below those of 
the early fifties, but the vital principle of sale had gained 
ground. Though only 9000 copies were sold in 1866 in a 
circulation of 39,000, three years later the sales amounted 
to 17,000 in a circulation of 23,000, and in 1870 the 
Auxiliary frankly adopted the principle. The circulation 
dropped below 18,000, but in 1872 it leaped up to 46,000 ; 
the tours of the missionaries (European and Indian), which 
ceased through the failure of the special fund raised in 
Calcutta, were revived at the expense of the Parent Society ; 
the number of colporteurs was gradually increased to forty- 
four, and in 1883 the circulation of the year exceeded 53,000 
copies — 53,059 sales, 91 free grants. 

Ten years after the adoption of the Murdoch scheme, 
the attention of the Auxiliary was turned once more to the 
young. The Bengal Government was approached, and 
with the assistance of the Director of Public Instruction 
not only was the Bible placed in the library of every 
Government school and college, but vernacular Testaments 
were distributed for use in all these schools, and an English 
Bible and Testament were presented to each of the higher 
and middle-class schools aided by the State. Picture the 
effect of many of those books scattered over the Presidency ! 
"A day or two afterwards," wrote Dr Bronson of his tour 
on the northern bank of the Brahmaputra, "I came to the 
celebrated shrine of Hazoo founded by one of the old Assam 
kings. Multitudes visit the shrine from every quarter. At 
the foot of the steps leading to the temple I found another 
Government school. The pundit handed me the Bible, and 
said that the children and many people read it." 

The long-delayed project of a Bible House in Calcutta was 
at last realised by the Auxiliary in 1875. The Committee, 
which had voted ;^iooo towards the cost many years before, 


gave ;^5oo more contingent on ;^iooo being collected locally. 
As future tenants, the Religious Tract Society undertook 
one-third of the whole outlay, and the Christian Vernacular 
Education Society contributed ;^5oo. A fund, to which the 
Viceroy, Lord Northbrook, subscribed, was also raised for 
repairs. The building, situated in Chowringhee Road, was 
opened with prayer and praise on the ist May.^ 

It was the year of the Prince of Wales's tour. At 
Calcutta his Royal Highness was presented with a copy of 
the Bengali Bible, and at Allahabad with the Hindi and 
Urdu-Arabic versions. These were noble memorials of a 
great work, but in the white-robed multitude who, with their 
native clergy and mission-school children, welcomed him 
among the cotton-bogs of Maniachi in the name of the 
60,000 Christians of Tinnevelly, the Prince had already seen 
the Bible translated into Indian life.^ The progress of his 
Royal Highness brought into sudden relief the fact that the 
people of the enormous peninsula were " not subject races, 
but the Queen's subjects " ; the distinction was emphasised 
by the viceregal proclamation of her Majesty at Delhi and 
the capitals of the Presidencies ; and to both events was 
largely due the unparalleled sympathy with which the English 
people and the Government of India responded to the cry of 
the terrible famine of 1876-78. Bengal had been succoured 
a year or two earlier ; for the starving millions in Madras, 
Mysore, and Bombay upwards of ;^689,ooo was received at 
the Mansion House, and the ministration, to heathen and 
Christian alike, of that compassionate aid was a marvellous 
object-lesson, not only of the benevolence of the British 
rule but of the difference between the religions of the East 
and West. " Their demon-gods had deserted them, and 
Christians had fed them." 

' In 1878 a legacy enabled the Auxiliary to add a third storey, which was let to 
the Young Men's Christian Association. 

^ This remarkable meeting with 8000 Madrassi Christians was brought about by 
the Prince's companion, Sir Bartle Frere. — Stock, History of the Church Missionary 
Society, vol. iii. p. 169, 

VOL. III. 2 B 


As the Missionary Societies threw out new settlements, 
not only was colportage "as the ripple to the pebble," but 
the languages of strange races were mastered, and fresh 
translations begun. Santali was the speech of an aboriginal 
forest-people — twelve dark woolly-haired tribes, numbering 
about 1,000,000, and scattered among the hills and jungles 
of Chota Nagpore. They believed in a common Folk-father 
and Protector, "The Great Mountain," but each village had 
its priest and its grove of sal - trees, in whose shadowy 
branches lurked the household spirits. Every household had 
its own spirit, and all were malign. Hill and forest, too, were 
haunted by demons and spectres. These Santal villages 
alternated with those of the Kols, a thick-lipped, black-haired, 
and darker aboriginal race ; worshippers of the dog and the 
sahajan-tree, warriors of the bow and poisoned arrow, who 
lived on berries and game. On the initiative of the Indian 
Government, the Church Missionary Society undertook a 
mission among these wild tribes in 1857. Santali, with its 
three numbers, four cases, five voices and moods, and three- 
and-twenty tenses was reduced to writing, and in 1868 the 
Gospel of St Matthew was published. The number of 
readers was still small, but a wonderful eagerness for Biblical 
instruction stirred the people. The Psalter appeared in 
1871 ; in 1872 three colporteurs were at work among them ; 
and between 1876 and 1880 the three other Gospels and the 
Acts were issued. The Rev. F. T. Cole and two of his 
colleagues formed a revision committee, and as one of the 
linguistic difficulties on which they could not decide was the 
choice of equivalents for "God" and "the Holy Ghost," the 
revision of St Matthew which appeared in 1882 read "Cando" 
and "Sonat" in one half of the edition, and "Isor" and 
" Dhurm Atma" in the other. 

In 1873 the Rev. C. A. Nottrott of the Gossner Mission 
asked the help of the Committee in preparing a version for the 
Kols in the Singbhum district of Chota Nagpore, Mundari 


was chosen as the most useful dialect, Devanagari as the most 
suitable character. The Gospel of St Mark appeared in 1876, 
and in eight years 14,000 copies were printed ; Matthew (7500 
copies) and John (3000) were published in 1881, and Luke 
(2000) followed in 1882. Many a Kol village saw the burning ' 
of the bundles of tiger-claws, tiger-hair, cock-spurs, rice, 
tobacco, with which bongas and the ghosts of the forefathers 
were propitiated. In 1882 the Gossner Mission numbered 
about 250,000 Christians and the Society for the Propagation 
of the Gospel, 10,000. "But for fear of being ousted from 
their lands by the Sikadars," wrote a missionary, "the whole 
tribe would embrace Christianity in a few years." 

When the Baptist Mission entered Orissa in 1822 Carey's 
Uriya Bible had been awaiting them for seven years. Dr 
Sutton's version was in their hands in 1844. Now, twenty 
years later, the Rev. Dr J. Buckley of Cuttack, assisted by 
the able old native minister Jagoo Roul, was engaged on the 
third version, or rather, revision of the Old Testament. (" I 
never regarded it as my duty to make a new translation, but 
to make what was already good a little better.") Grants were 
made during its progress. It was a time of ordeal, but once 
more calamity " wore a precious jewel in its head," for when 
the famine of 1865-66 swept away three quarters of a million 
people, the Uriyas saw how 1400 of their orphan children 
were taken to the warm breast of Christian charity. In i86g 
the Committee undertook the cost of various portions as they 
were ready for the press, and in 1872 the Old Testament was 
issued for the first time in a single volume. Sutton's edition 
was in three ; the Serampore version in four. On the latest 
printed page, however, the Uriya character, with its curious 
up-strokes, recalled the old days of palm-leaf manuscript, 
when straight strokes would have split the leaf.^ 

The missionaries met with many an encouraging experience 

1 On the initiative of Dr Buckley the Auxiliary supplied English Bibles for the 
posting-stations in Orissa. 


in their journeys. In districts where the Education Depart- 
ment was at work, boys and girls from the vernacular heathen 
schools trooped to their camp and answered questions in a 
way that "would have done credit to any Sunday school in 
England." Further afield they reached villages where no 
European had been seen before, "and the name of Christ 
was as strange as if He had never appeared in the world," 
but old men rejoiced that they had lived to hear of Him 
who had power on earth to forgive sins, women wept aloud 
at the thought of their little sons safe in His arms, and the 
chief cast his idols into the river. A new day was break- 
ing on these old nature-folk. A tribe of 10,000 Juangs, 
"Leaf-wearers," had been tempted to clothe their women 
by the Government providing the cloth; the Khonds, "the 
Mountaineers," in the steep forest-ranges rising from the 
coast, had ceased from human sacrifice ; they had yet no 
alphabet, but they, too, were one day to read of Christ in 
their own tongue. 

In 1871 appeared a revised edition of St Luke and the 
Acts in Nepali ; and towards the close of the period the 
Society assisted the Scottish Mission at Darjeeling to issue 
Genesis and Exodus, Proverbs, and the Four Gospels. St 
John, St Matthew, and Genesis-Exodus i.-xx. were published 
in the seventies for the Lepchas between the Nepalese and 
Bhutan frontiers. In 1881 the Auxiliary printed 1000 copies 
of St Luke in the language of a tribe in the jungles of 
the Rajmahal hills, near Bhagalpur. Maler, "the People," 
they called themselves, and their speech Malto, ' ' the tongue 
of the People. " It was their first book, and was translated 
by the Rev. E. Droese of the Church Missionary Society, 
who had lived nearly a quarter of a century among them. 
St John was issued the following year. The Four Gospels 
and Acts in Khasi were issued in 1856, and eagerly 
purchased. The Rev. T. Jones had not lived to finish his 
task for the beloved Hill-folk of Cherra, and his colleague. 


W. Lewis of the Welsh Mission completed the New Testa- 
ment which was printed in London in 1871.^ During the 
rest of the period the revision of the New Testament and 
the translation of the Old were in hand. In Assami, the 
language of the whole population of the Brahmaputra valley, 
the American Baptist version of the Psalms was issued at 
Sibsagor in 1863 and again at Calcutta in 1875. 

We pass to the great versions of the Auxiliary. In 
Bengali, one of the dominant languages of Christianity in 
India, the issues in the thirty years exceeded 702,000 copies.^ 
The text of the first single-volume Bible of 1861, which 
was based on the earlier versions of Yates and Carey, had 
been revised for the third time by the great Baptist scholar, 
John Wenger ; but the quest for perfection was ended only 
to begin afresh. In 1874 his fourth revision left the press. 
His work was literally a labour of love. "The Bible Trans- 
lation Society supplied all his wants," — so ran his kindly 
refusal of the Committee's honorarium of ;^200 — "and he 
preferred to render any service he could to the Bible Society 
without remuneration." He died in 1880 at the age of sixty- 
nine. During fifty-one years of missionary and linguistic 
activity he not only carried through the press four editions 
of the Bengali Bible and six of the New Testament, besides 
many separate portions, but translated most of the sacred 
volume into Sanskrit and revised the rest. A portable 
reference New Testament advanced this part of the version 
towards completeness in 1880. 

But there were linguists who thought that even Wenger's 
achievement fell short of the ideal. An experimental transla- 
tion of Luke, Mark and Matthew was issued by the Rev. 
R. P. Greaves of the Church Missionary Society, who 
died in 1870, the year of publication. In 1882 the 

^ It was while reading the proofs of this Khasi edition that the ex-Editorial 
Superintendent, Mr Meller, was stricken down with paralysis. — Ante, p. 26. 

^ Namely, 7500 Bibles, 4250 Old Testaments, 22,000 New Testaments, and 
668,994 separate Gospels and Portions. 


Committee provided paper for a tentative edition (2000 
copies) of a New Testament by the Rev. C. Bomwetsch, 
a veteran of the same society. In the following year a 
committee of missionaries, Indian pastors, and Bengali 
gentlemen was appointed to prepare "a simple, smooth, and 
idiomatic translation " of St Matthew into Bengali. 

Up to 1859, 70,000 copies — the separate Gospels, the Acts, 
Genesis-Exodus i.-xx., the Psalms, Isaiah, all of them but 
St Luke translated by the Rev. S. J. Hill of the London 
Missionary Society — were published in Mussulman-Bengali 
for the Mohammedan population in Lower and Eastern 
Bengal. Was it wise to proceed further in this "corrupt 
jargon " ? The question was answered in a few years by 
the urgent needs of 20,000,000 of people, to whom the 
religious terminology of the Hindus was unintelligible. Mr 
Hill revised his version ; a new translation of St Luke by 
the Rev. J. E. Payne of the London Missionary Society 
was published in 1876 ; the books were readily bought at 
fairs and markets; and up to the end of the period 15,000 
Psalters and 12,300 Gospels left the press — a total of 99,300 

A total of 115,000 copies of Genesis-Exodus i.-xx., the 
separate Gospels, the Acts with or without St Luke, and 
the Book of Proverbs, in Hindi - Kaithi (the business 
equivalent of the Devanagari) was printed for the Auxiliary 
in the course of the thirty years. 

Of Wenger's Sanskrit version, completed in 1872, St 
Luke, Genesis, the Psalms, and Proverbs were issued in the 
Bengali character up to i860, and sold by the colporteurs 
among the pundits of Nadia, the University of Bengal. 
A Sanskrit-Uriya diglot of the Psalms was also edited for 
the high-class Brahmins of Chota Nagpore. The Sanskrit 
text in the Devanagari character, however, was so largely 
popularised, and Sanskrit was taught in so many of the higher 
schools of the Presidency, that in 1876 the version in that form 


appeared for the first time among the Auxiliary's own 
publications. The Psalms were quickly followed by Proverbs, 
and in 1883 the New Testament and editions of the separate 
Gospels were in the press. The Sanskrit issues numbered 
19,000 copies. 

The vernacular Scriptures printed for the Auxiliary 
during the period numbered 1,046,350 copies in fifteen 

But for the continuous support of the Society the ever- 
broadening work outlined in these pages would have been 
impossible. At no time adequate, the free contributions 
to the Auxiliary dwindled to ;^i20, "only obtained after 
considerable trouble," and in 1881 a special grant of ;^iooo 
to meet a very large debt for printing was voted by the 
Committee. Making due allowance for the large percentage 
of illiteracy and the other difficulties encountered, the con- 
dition of colportage was still unsatisfactory. With a staff 
of thirty-six men, only 32,900 copies were sold in 1879, and 
27)599 in 1880. The rules were revised by the light of a 
Missionary Conference ; mission agents were impressed with 
the duty of selling round about their own stations ; the 
colporteurs were scattered more widely over the Presidency ; 
a search was made for more capable men. The only method 
of securing efficiency, however, appeared to be the appoint- 
ment of one or two Europeans to train and supervise the 
staff. The whole subject of Bible circulation was discussed 
in the summer of 1882, and the outcome was a request to 
the Committee for an agent who should take charge of the 
operations of the Calcutta and North India Auxiliaries. 

In the course of the period the Auxiliary circulated 
1,123,000 copies of Oriental and European Scriptures. The 
outlay of the Committee in connection with its work 
amounted to ;^4i,88o, and ;^76oo of this was spent on 
colportage in the last fifteen years. 

Here, as we break off the story of Calcutta, we recall 

392 THE MUTINY— AND AFTER [1854-1884] 

some of the distinguished men associated with its labours — 
its patrons, Bishop Cotton, whom the Ganges bore to an 
unknown grave ; Bishop Milman, who died in harness ; his 
successor, Bishop Johnson ; and its sequence of presidents, 
the Hon. G. Loch, Sir Henry Wylie Norman (one of the 
Christian soldiers of the Mutiny), Sir William Muir, General 
Litchfield, all of whom left India ; and the Hon. A. Rivers 
Thompson, who took office as president in 1882. 



There was a happy sequel to add to the record of the North- 
West Provinces. From 1868 to 1884 the circulation rose 
from 83,000 in the first five years to 197,000 in the last. 
The number of colporteurs was on the whole smaller, but 
experience and careful selection produced a superior class 
of men, and efficiency secured not only a wider range of 
travel and an increase of sales, but a considerable reduction 
of expenses.^ Missionary tours, which had ceased for a 
time, were revived. In 1873 a plan was adopted for placing 
the New Testament — intrusted to the care of a headman 
or pundit — in every village where such a course seemed 

In 1879 observers were struck with the extent to which 
non-Christian literature was coloured by Bible thoughts and 
Bible phrases. That would have been of little moment 
had the influence gone no deeper. But the Moslem hakim 
forsook his Koran ; the Brahmin snapped the cord of his 
caste and laid it in the hands of the Christian teacher ; the 
guru taught from a new Shastra. The missionary, exploring 
strange ground, was surprised to learn that his message 
was not strange ; the little books had found their way to 
the jungle-village long before him. In one large town the 
colporteur was invited to a seat in the shops of wealthy 
merchants, the descendants of Hindus or Moslems who had 
harried or slain twenty years ago all bearing the name of 

^ In 1882, nevertheless, the cost of colportage was lod. per copy on the sales. 



Christian. There was no question of a Pentecostal awaken- 
ing, but everywhere, and among all classes, men were being 
brought to the feet of Christ. 

We have seen how the Society printed large quantities 
of New Testaments and New Testament Portions to replace 
the Hindi Scriptures destroyed in the pillage of Agra. A 
fresh edition of the Hindi Old Testament, of which the 
Committee undertook half the cost, was begun by the Rev. 
Dr Owen of the American Presbyterian Mission in 1864. 
The first volume was published in 1866, the second in 1869, 
and during the progress of the work many thousands of 
separate Portions were issued. The desire for a more perfect 
New Testament in this great tongue of the common people 
was always in evidence, but before effective measures could 
be taken supplies ran short, and the version of the Rev. J. 
Parsons (based on the text of Yates and Leslie) was reprinted, 
with the consent of the Bible Translation Society, in 1874. 
In 1 88 1 a second edition, together with the separate Gospels, 
was produced in small type on thin paper — the first step 
towards a complete Hindi Bible in one volume. This was 
the text which was to become in time the "standard," but 
the ablest scholars were still at sixes and sevens, and in 
1883 the work of revision was committed to a strong board 
representing the London, Church, Scottish U.P., American 
Presbyterian, and American Methodist Episcopal Missions. 
Meanwhile a heavy debt had been contracted in printing 
the version, and the Committee voted ;^iooo to free the 
Auxiliary from its difficulties. 

Another version takes us to Peshawar, the old towered 
city of legends, where the begging-bowl of the Buddha 
was once preserved in a costly shrine, and a mile away on 
the plain grew the colossal pipal-tree, in whose shade 
Gautama foretold the coming of the great King Kanishka. 
" The Frontier Town" (Peshawar), Akbar named it long ago. 
Forty miles west of the bridge of boats over the Indus, it 


was still an "outpost of empire" ; and there in 1853 — one 
of the heart-stirring episodes in the history of Indian 
evangelisation — the C.M.S. mission was founded. [One of 
the first needs of the mission was the Bible in Pashtu for 
the fierce Moslem population, the wild tribesmen of the 
Khaibar, and the 6,000,000 of people in Afghanistan. Leyden 
and Carey had long been dead, and oblivion had fallen on 
their Afghan work.^ "The Scriptures were supposed never 
to have been translated into Pashtu, and two or three officers 
undertook to translate some of the Gospels." 

Then, in a flash, the Frontier Commissioner, the heroic 
Herbert Edwardes, remembered that he had once seen a 
Pashtu Testament in the hands of a fine old Pathan chief. 
It had been given him in his youth while selling horses at 
Hurdwar Fair, and the missionary had charged him to keep 
it safe from fire and water, for some day it would be of use 
to him when the English should come to his country. "The 
day has come," Ali Khan had said, "and here is the book, 
unharmed by fire or water." It was unrolled from many 
wrappers — the New Testament, Pashtu in Persian character ; 
printed at the Serampore Mission in 1818. 

Application was at once made to Serampore, but not a 
copy could be found in the Mission library. Then Ali Khan 
was persuaded to give his precious volume in exchange for 
a Persian Bible. Captain James provided designs for cast- 
ing such Pashtu letters as differed from the Persian, and the 
Auxiliary reprinted 3000 copies of the solitary book which 
had been so wonderfully preserved "against God's good 

The Gospel of St Luke was translated by Captain James, 

and that of St John by Robert Clark, the Church Missionary 

Society pioneer, and they were in the hands of the Auxiliary 

when the Agra press was burned down. Meanwhile, how- 

1 See vol. i. pp. 278, 284, 293. 


ever, a version by Isidore Lowenthal of the American Mission 
was in progress, and the New Testament was printed in 
London in 1863, a few months before the strange but gifted 
translator was shot down by one of his own servants, a 
fanatical Afghan. It was at this point that the version passed 
with the Panjabi Scriptures to the care of the new Auxiliary 
at Lahore. 

In Panjabi the Four Gospels and Acts were in circulation, 
and editions of Genesis, Exodus i.-xx., and the Psalms had 
been issued, but in 1861 these last were out of print. 

Urdu (Hindustani) was another of the versions which 
suffered in the Mutiny. A revised edition of the Old 
Testament in Latin character (Urdu-Roman) was printed 
at Mirzapur in 1855. Together with the New Testament, 
in course of revision by the Rev. R. Cotton Mather of the 
London Missionary Society, and completed in 1858, the bulk 
of these copies were intended to form a complete Bible, 
and happily they escaped destruction. But of the New 
Testament in Arabic character (Urdu- Arabic), revised by 
the Rev. C. T. Hoernle of the Church Missionary Society, 
and printed at Sikandra, almost the whole edition perished. 
From one of the few copies saved Hoernle reprinted 20,000 
New Testaments and 30,000 Gospels and Acts in London 
in i860 ; and at the same time and place 20,000 Testaments 
in Urdu-Roman, half of them with the English version in 
parallel columns, and a corrected reprint of the first complete 
Urdu Bible (the Benares Version of 1843) were brought out 
by Dr Cotton Mather. 

In 1863 Dr Mather was commissioned by the Auxiliary 
to take charge of new editions of the Bible in Arabic and 
Roman characters. After six years' labour the work left the 
Mirzapur press in 1870, and became "the Church Bible of 
the Urdu-speaking Christian community." '• Next to Henry 
Martyn, " wrote Dr Weitbrecht long afterwards, ' ' no man has 


done more for the Urdu Bible than this indefatigable 

Last, the Auxiliary published in 1872 the Gospel of St 
Matthew, and in 1873 that of St Mark, translated by the 
Rev. J. Dawson of the Free Church of Scotland into a 
new Bible tongue — Gond, the language of the aboriginal 
hill-men around Chindwara on the central plateau of India. 

These were broadly the lines on which the work of the 
Society advanced in the North-West Provinces. As the 
period approached its close more money and more men were 
needed. In 1882 a scheme was adopted for insuring a 
regular course of Bible study among the colporteurs and 
holding a yearly conference for their encouragement. As 
at Calcutta, however, the time had come when the operations 
of the Auxiliary outstripped the powers of busy volunteers 
and required the whole time and energy of a special agent. 

The circulation of the North India Auxiliary during the 
period was upwards of 580,500 copies, and the expenditure 
of the Society amounted to ;^2S,363, of which ^^6551 was 
voted for colportage in the last fifteen years. 

Munificently aided by the Committee, the Panjab Auxiliary 
slowly realised its great projects. The lithographed Urdu- 
Persian Testament, which it began the moment it was founded, 
appeared in 1866. The common people could not read the 
Arabic character, the educated regarded it as out of date ; 
whereas Urdu in Persian script would carry the Word of 
God into Kashmir and Afghanistan. In 1871 ;^5oo was 
voted for the publication of the Old Testament (in Portions) 
in the same style, and in 1874 the Urdu Persian version was 
completed. A portable reference Bible — the first of its kind 
ia Urdu, and the first of any kind in lithographed Persian 
character — was issued in 1883 by the Auxiliary and the 
American Bible Society. 

1 He died in 1877 at Finchley in his sixty-ninth year. 


The fine Panjabi scholar, Dr Janvier, died in 1864, but 
younger hands caught up the fallen torch. The complete 
Panjabi New Testament by the Rev. J. Newton was 
printed in Gurmukhi, the Sikh character, in 1868. Large 
editions of Jonah and Daniel, translated by J. Harvey of 
the Government school at Amritsar, were issued in 1874, 
and his version of the Old Testament passed through 
Newton's hands in 1878 before appearing in separate 

Some progress was made in Pashtu by the C.M.S. 
missionaries. The Rev. T. P. Hughes completed Genesis 
and Exodus at Peshawar in 1879 ; in 1880 he and his 
colleague, W. Jukes, had the rest of the Pentateuch in 
hand ; ^ and in 1883 a beautiful edition of the Zabur or 
Psalter, by the Rev. T. J. Lee Mayer of Bannu, was 
printed in London under the care of Dr William Wright. 

In 1880 the Sermon on the Mount in Kashmiri was 
issued both in Persian character and the old Sarada of the 
birch-bark books of the eighth century. It was the work 
of the Rev. T. R. Wade, who began translating in the 
seventies at Srinagar, where a medical mission had been 
started by Dr Elmslie of the Church Missionary Society. 
Some thousands of Gospels and other Portions appeared 
shortly afterwards, and were eagerly welcomed by the 
people, and carried off to their villages by the patients of 
the Kashmir Hospital. The whole of the New Testament 
was revised with the help of a Kashmiri catechist and 
several learned Mohammedans and Hindus, and left the 
press in 1884. 

From the outset the Auxiliary had reckoned the Tibetan 
version among its undertakings. In 1853 the Moravian 
pioneers, Heyde and Pagell, had attempted to enter the 

' The Pentateuch and Historical Books had also been published in Pashtu by the 
Serampore Mission, 


mysterious regions of Tibet. Baffled in Ladakh by the 
Chinese, they settled at Kailang in Lahoul in 1856, when 
Heinrich August Jaschke joined them. A wild and beautiful 
spot under the high everlasting snow-belt of the Himalayas, 
but keen even in summer, when the hillsides were flushed 
with wild roses and anemones ! Here among their orchard 
trees and slopes of tillage Jaschke took up the task of 
translation, while in the Buddhist monastery, perched 
aloft on sheer rocks, the masked monks in their curious 
robes danced to the music of big drums and cymbals. 
What endless search for the right Bible word ! Up to 
1863, "to condemn," "to judge," "to reconcile," even 
"death" had not been found with any degree of certainty. 
"Vision" was unknown. For "the Holy Spirit" he was 
fain to use the Sanskrit Abina ; the nearest approach in 
Tibetan, Dangma, etymologically "the pure," applied at 
its highest to the human soul purified from passion, like 
water become transparent through perfect stillness. 

By the end of 1871, however, the whole of the New 
Testament, except Mark, Luke, Hebrews, and Revelation, 
had been lithographed and printed by Heyde — some Portions 
many times— and distributed among fifty lamaseries and 
nearly a hundred and eighty villages, in which there were 
many readers. Some dreaded the witchcraft of foreign 
books, and gave them back ; others used the leaves as 
medicine in times of sickness ; others again kept lamps 
burning before them, as with their own sacred writings. 
They were much read in the long Tibetan winter: but 
when the minds of the people were moved and the 
question arose, "Can we trust wholly in Christ? Can He 
in truth save us?" the Lamas began to stir up distrust 
and hostility. 

In 1872 the Auxiliary supplied paper and funds for an 
edition of Matthew, Mark, and John. Nine years later the 
Committee took up the work through their agency in 


Berlin, where Jaschke, now old and ill, had just carried 
through the press his Tibetan Dictionary for the Indian 
Government. In 1881-82 he read the final proofs of the 
Four Gospels, which had been revised by his colleagues 
Heyde and F. A. Redslob and a baptized Lama. He 
hoped to complete the printing of the New Testament, 
but in September 1883, after much suffering, he died at 
Herrnhut, at the age of sixty-six. One of the great 
Moravian scholars ; the foremost authority in Tibetan 
matters, thought Max Miiller. The beautiful printed copies 
were received with delight by the missionaries and their 
little band of Christians. Their congregation at Kailang 
numbered twenty-nine persons, wrote Redslob in 1882 ; 
that at the out-station of Poo, six : the visible fruit of 
twenty-eight years of labour ! More confident now than 
ever, they were about to start a new station at Leh, the 
great mart in Ladakh for the trade from Lhasa, where 
their books were already known. Their principle, too, was 
sale. If they were to offer a Tibetan a book for nothing, 
he would suspect it was a snare to catch him by some 
secret magic. 

In 1883 the Gospel of St Matthew and the Sermon on the 
Mount translated by Sohan Lai, a native pastor, and revised 
by Dr J. Hutcheson of the Church of Scotland Medical 
Mission, were published in the hill dialect of the neighbouring 
State of Chamba. 

For some years the work of distribution in the Panjab 
seemed well-nigh hopeless. Among the fanatical Moslem 
population few would buy from the colporteur, few would even 
take a Gospel as a gift from the missionary. At the first 
glimpse of St Mark's phrase, "the Son of God," the book 
was flung back in horror. One notable chief in the Peshawar 
district, descendant of a famous Afghan leader of other days, 
would sometimes read aloud two or three chapters of the New 
Testament. He was the strange and fearless exception. 


From the village moulvie to the Ameer himself, the more 
educated were held in awe by the spirit of Islam. "At 
Lahore Moslem persecution was as bitter as Roman Catholic." 
On the Rev. Robert Clark's acceptance of office as 
secretary in 1870, the seat of management was fixed at 
Lahore, and a more regular system was organised. A 
central depot, towards which the Committee contributed 
;^35o, was established, and branch depots were gradually 
opened at various mission stations. A new Bible House, 
joint property of the Auxiliary and the Panjab Religious 
Book Society, was inaugurated at a public meeting in 1876. 
The site was a Government grant through General Maclagan, 
president of the Auxiliary ; plans, estimates, and super- 
intendence of the works were given freely, and an anony- 
mous benefactor bore the cost of the building, which, apart 
from ;^5oo voted by the Committee, was estimated to exceed 


The staff of colporteurs was strengthened. The Word 
of God was offered for sale in the bazaars of Peshawar, alive 
with Persians and Afghans, Usbegs, Panjabis, and Hindus ; 
at Gujarat and Multan ; at Amritsar, where, like a living 
thing, the Granth, the sacred silk-shrouded book of the 
Sikhs, was fanned in the Golden Temple ; at Firozpur and 
other large towns. Little by little the people began to 
purchase what they had refused with scorn. Villagers 
bought for their Sikh guru a Testament he was too poor to 
buy ; a fakir, in his ashes and ochre-coloured robe, taught 
his chelas from the Gospels ; " in one village the other day," 
wrote a Scottish missionary at Wazirabad, "they almost 
mobbed me for books." The circulation leaped up from 
1268 in 1871 to 12,790 in 1873. 

As the work of the Panjab Religious Book Society 
developed, the Auxiliary staff was reduced. In 1883, when 

' General Maclagan left India in 1878, and the office of patron was accepted by 
Bishop French of Lahore. 

VOL. III. 2 C 


there were seven Biblemen and thirteen depots, and the 
Book Society had thirty-two men in the field, the circulation 
was 22,077 copies in several European and a dozen Oriental 

During Mr Clark's furlough in 1879-80 his place as 
secretary was taken by the Rev. H. U. Weitbrecht, who was 
shortly to render invaluable service in version work. 

The Division of Sindh, which the Sindh, Panjab, and 
Delhi Railway 1 brought into easier contact with Lahore, 
was detached from Bombay in 1881 and added to the Panjab 
Auxiliary, whose range now extended from the Valley of 
Kashmir to the Arabian Sea. 

The circulation of the period came to 150,335 copies, and 
the expenditure of the Society to ;^i 0,280. 

Whatever the cause may have been, the one Auxiliary 
in the Bombay Presidency showed little of the buoyant and 
expansive force which we have seen in the North and East. 
On its narrower lines, however, much excellent work was 
accomplished. Advantage was taken of the spread of 
education, and some years before the Murdoch scheme was 
proposed the Scriptures in English and the vernacular were 
placed in the libraries of upwards of four hundred Government 
schools, and it was a standing rule that wherever the colporteurs 
went, the New Testament should be presented to every village 
headman. Unfortunately the nervous and one-sided "im- 
partiality" of the Government was so understood by sub- 
ordinates that schoolmasters were often the most active in 
preventing the sale of the Scriptures among their scholars. 

Mission stations were supplied, and the Word of God 
was circulated in the course of the ordinary circuits ; but the 
Bible tours for which the Committee provided ample funds 
were comparatively rare, and when a special appeal was 

' The Company generously issued a free pass for a colporteur who worked along 
the line. 


made in 1874 ^° seventy-nine missionaries and other workers 
in the Presidency, not a solitary volunteer responded to the 
call. In addition the Auxiliary was in touch with thirty 
or forty correspondents scattered over the vast provinces. 
Among the number was one, the Rev. Dr Narayen Sheshadri, 
who at the May meeting of 1874 presented in his own person 
what Henry Martyn called "one of the greatest miracles of 
grace" — a converted Brahmin. And this Brahmin, a man 
of the highest caste — villagers knelt and drank the very 
rain-pools in which he had wet his feet — had been con- 
verted from the Pantheism which denied human sin and 
human responsibility, not by any Christian teacher, but by 
the Spirit of Truth speaking through the Bible alone. He 
had founded a Christian village, built schools and churches, 
and now aided the Auxiliary in directing the men who 
offered the same Book of books to his fellow-countrymen. 

Branch depots at Belgaum, Poona, Mhow, Surat, 
Nasik, Malligaum, and Karachi stretched like a chain of 
outposts through the Presidency ; and at Haidarabad (Sindh) 
a catechist sat day by day in his shop reading the Scriptures 
and conversing with Hindu and Mohammedan. 

The colportage staff, however, was of the smallest — at 
no time more than nine men, and though many places were 
visited,^ the sales were so meagre that in 1872 new rules were 
drawn up, the standard of qualification was raised, and a 
demand was laid upon the Churches for the supply of 
efficient and right-hearted workers. 

In the matter of versions, 6000 copies of the new Gujarati 
Testament (Clarkson & Flower), printed in commemoration 
of the Jubilee, left the Irish Presbyterian press at Surat 
in 1857. An edition adapted by the Rev. Dhunjibhoy 
Nowroji for the use of Parsis appeared in i860, and in the 

' Generous gifts from Mr R. Arthington of Leeds and a gentleman connected with 
the Bengal Revenue Survey carried the work in 1863 into Malwa and Berar. In 
1879 a donation of ;^lo was sent from Canada for Bible circulation in the Indore 


same year was published the revised Old Testament, the 
separate books of which had passed into circulation as they 
left the editor's hand. Linguistically nothing further was 
attempted in Gujarati during the period, but among the 
various reissues may be noted a large-type Testament which 
cost 2s. 8d. a copy, and was sold at 6d. 

The Jubilee edition of the Marathi Bible appeared in 1855 
— a work of such felicity' of scholarship, it was thought, 
that "probably no very material improvements in future 
editions would be found practicable." In 1861 the Gospel 
of St John was printed in Latin characters so that English 
families might read it to their Indian servants.^ For the 
masses of the people to whom the Balbodh or Devanagari 
character was a stumbling-block, editions of the Gospels were 
issued in Modhi, the popular business script; and in 1864 
10,000 New Testaments were printed in that form in London 
under the editorship of the Rev. J. S. Robertson. 2 

This was the jubilee year of the Auxiliary. Of its 
founders but few survived, and none were now in India. Its 
circulation during the half-century had amounted to upwards 
of 255,000 copies of Scripture. 

A school edition of the New Testament in two volumes 
was undertaken in 1867 ; and in 1872 an improved edition 
of the Bible, preceded by issues of the separate books, was 
completed by the Rev. A. Hazen ; and in March 1880 a 
committee was appointed for a thorough revision of the 
Marathi Bible. 

The Sindhi version was the work of the men of the Church 
Missionary Society. A translation committee was formed 
in 1858, with the Rev. A. Burn of Karachi as chief translator, 
and in the next three years some hundreds of copies of St 

' Similarly in 1882 the Calcutta Auxiliary printed the Bengali Gospel of St Luke 
in English type for the use of ladies. 

^ Mr Robertson left Bombay in 1877 without any prospect of returning. He 
had at that date been seven years president of the Auxiliary, twelve years one 
of its general secretaries, and twenty-seven years a member of the Marathi 
Translation Board. 


John, Genesis, and St Matthew were published in the Arabic 
and Gurmukhi character. Luke and Mark gave infinite 
trouble, but in 1870 the Four Gospels and Acts were printed 
in London under the eye of the translator. The version, 
which appeared in parts as these were finished, was con- 
tinued to I Corinthians by the Rev. C. W. Isenberg, and 
concluded by the Rev. G. Shirt, who proceeded with the Old 
Testament. Each book was tested by his congregation at 
Haidarabad, ■ and by the end of the period, when he himself 
had removed to Quetta and the Sindhi version had been 
transferred to the Panjab Auxiliary, Genesis and the Psalter 
were in circulation, and Exodus, i and 2 Samuel, i Kings, 
Isaiah, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Minor Prophets 
were in manuscript. 

In 1866 the Auxiliary supplied paper for 1000 copies of the 
Gospel of St Luke in Marwari, a variety of Hindi, translated 
by the Rev. Shoolbred of Rajputana ; but nothing further 
is recorded. 

The perception of the vast field — over 20,000,000 of 
people — and of their own incommensurate operations was 
keenly felt by the Bombay committee, and in 1873 they 
resolved to meet once a quarter for prayer alone. "When 
the people see in us a clearer manifestation of Divine Power, 
then will their hearts be more inclined to study the Gospel." 
Superficial observers, however, readily accounted for the 
state of affairs until their hasty criticisms were checked in the 
Report of 1882 : " With all the marvellous growth of its 
capital " — and Bombay was the most populous city not only 
in British India, but with the exception of London in the 
whole British Empire^ — "the Bombay Presidency has been 
the most backward of the three in missionary progress, and, 
as an inevitable consequence, in Bible-work. This unfits it 
to be taken as a fair sample of what your Society has done 
and is doing for India, and still more as a proof that your 

' Population of Bombay, 644,4C»; Calcutta, 447,600; Madras, 397,500. 


Committee deal parsimoniously with the Indian Auxiliaries, 
and spend ' more attention and money on smaller countries 
nearer home.' " In point of fact the Bombay Auxiliary never 
lacked means. 

Considering its geographical position, it would have been 
strange had the Auxiliary never passed beyond its own 
borders. Here, as elsewhere, war afforded unexpected open- 
ings. The Scriptures were supplied to the expedition against 
Persia in 1856, to the Indian and European troops of the 
Abyssinian expedition in 1867, to the regiments and batteries 
which passed through Karachi to the Afghan war. On the 
renewal of hostilities in Afghanistan loco copies of Scripture 
in various 1 anguages were sent from the Panjab to the Rev. 
G. Maxwell Gordon of Kandahar ; but before they had been 
distributed, the heroic missionary had lost his life during 
the siege which followed the disaster of Maiwand.^ On 
the evacuation. Scriptures from Calcutta awaited the troops 
withdrawn through the Khaibar to Peshawar. Once again, 
Bombay and North India united to give a Testament, or at 
least a Portion, to every soldier embarking for the Egyptian 

The easy access by sea suggested the addition of a new 
region to the domains of the Society. A suitable man was 
found for a Bible mission along the Arabian coast ; the Com- 
mittee granted ;^200 ; and in February 1861 Mikael Joseph, 
a native of Baghdad and a convert of the Church of Scotland 
Mission, set out on his hazardous enterprise. He was away 
for sixteen months ; worked among the Jews and Moslems in 
Aden, Mocha, and Hodeida ; ventured inland to Sana, and 
even to Mareb, "the city of the Queen of Sheba" ; brought 
away from the latter certain Hamyaritic stone inscriptions 
which nearly cost him his life among the suspicious Arabs of 
the hills ; made some stay at Jedda, and would have gone 

^ He was shot down while attempting to bring in some wounded soldiers left 
outside the Kabul gate. 


to Mecca had not the British Consul prevented him. His 
success induced Mr Arthington to plan another tour, and 
Eleas Rehani visited Muscat, Bunder Abbas, Bushire, and 
Basra in 1864-65. 

The work was continued in 1866, 1870, and 1877. In 
1878 the Committee granted Scriptures to the value of ;^ 170, 
and Colporteur Antone Gabriel took up his station at 
Baghdad. Mr Watt met him there, as we have seen, on his 
run through Persia, which took its place a year or two later 
in the list of Asiatic agencies.^ 

Though the work of Bombay was tardy, it was not 
unfruitful. Speaking with authority as Governor of the 
Presidency, Sir Bartle Frere told of little communities which 
through the reading of a single Gospel became centres of 
belief and light to others. One remote Deccan village, un- 
known to the missionaries, had abjured idolatry and caste, 
removed the images from its temples, and adopted a form 
of Christianity derived from the Scriptures and a few tracts. 
From colporteur or missionary one heard of the Brahmin 
who knew the Sermon on the Mount by heart ; of the one 
reader in a village who could recite Gospel after Gospel ; 
of the sahukar and his friends who concealed themselves 
in a mango tope to read and discuss the book which the 
jaghirdar had prohibited ; of Moslem and Marathi women 
weeping as they listened to the story of the Saviour's death ; 
of the cultured Indian gentleman, whose profession fell 
short of his belief — "Whatever the two savants Renan and 
Strauss may say, I for my part, like Cowper's humble 
cottager, believe that Christ did exist, and did exist for 
the world's eternal good." Here and there fanaticism was 
encountered, but the sovereign princes of India were in 
no way hostile to the spread of Christian truth. In one 
of his tours Dr Wilson, president of the Auxiliary, placed 
the Word of God in the hands of the Gaikwar of Baroda, 

' 4nte, p. 361. 


the Maharajas of Jodhpore and Indore, and the Nawab of 

It was in 1872, just before his return to Bombay for the 
last time, that Dr Wilson proposed a scheme — in successful 
operation in all the Presidencies to this day — for presenting 
the Bible, in the name of the Society, to every student 
matriculating at the Bombay University.^ 

The circulation of the Auxiliary during the period 
amounted to 326,334 copies in thirty-four languages. Until 
within a year or two of the close it was to a great extent 
gratuitous. Taking the rupee at is. 4d., the sales in the 
last fifteen years realised £,2']']S and the free contributions 
came to £,22,<^\. The Parent Society expended ;^ 12, 870, 
and in the fifteen years alone furnished the Auxiliary with 
26,870 copies of the Scripture, in English mostly, but also 
in Portuguese, Persian, Armenian, Arabic, and Jud^eo- 

At Bombay, as at Calcutta and Allahabad, the period 
closed with a request for a secretary to take charge of the 
Bible-work of the Presidency. 

' This eminent missionary and Orientalist died in 1875. "No missionary in 
India, not even Duff," writes the historian of the Church Missionary Society (Vol. iii. 
P- 139)) "had wielded a wider or more potent influence. . . . The Government 
constantly consulted him upon all sorts of matters affecting the life and circumstances 
of the people." He belonged to the Scottish Free Church Mission, had served 
forty-six years on the Bombay committee, been president of the Auxiliary for four, 
and took an active part in Marathi and Gujarati version work. 



Under systematic control Bible - work in the Madras 
Presidency sprang into shining pre-eminence. Gratis dis- 
tribution passed by sharp degrees into circulation by sale ; 
the absurdity of sending colporteurs to find purchasers where 
the missionaries were only too glad to give away put an 
end to a practice which was always undesirable and rarely 
effectual. "Those who are able to read," wrote Mr Hedger, 
the superintendent of colportage, "are generally able to give 
a small price for the books." In this respect many parts 
of the southern Presidency were exceptionally fortunate. In 
the Madura district there were 30,000 readers — 15 per cent, 
of the population ; in Trichinopoly 200,000 or 40 per cent. ; 
while sixty-five in every hundred of the Tinnevelly Christians 
and seven in every hundred of the heathen population could 

The whole aspect of Bible-work changed with wonderful 
rapidity. Between 1857 and 1866 the proportion of free 
copies fell from 68.8 per cent, to 2.6 per cent. ; and the 
proportion of sales rose from 31.2 per cent, to 97.4 per cent. 
In 1867 for every 300 copies sold only one was given gratis. 
The circulation expanded — from 17,000 in 1857 to 59,000 in 
1867 ; the sale returns grew from £1"] to ;^228 ; the Com- 
mittee enlarged the grant for colportage from jC'joo to 
;^iooo ; the number of colporteurs was increased. In 1867 
over sixty men were scattered far and wide over the vast 
field, They travelled 80,000 miles a year, offered the 



Scriptures for sale in 8300 towns and villages, called at 
352,000 houses, and came in contact with at least 1,000,000 

The Committee had provided funds for the separate 
organisation of the Telugu-speaking districts, but various 
considerations had prevented the appointment of a second 
superintendent. Without waiting for events, however, Mr 
Hedger extended his operations to the other great language 
regions of the Presidency. Six men were drafted to the 
Telugu, three to the Kanarese, and one to the Malayalam 
countries. Even the Kistna was crossed before the friends 
at Secunderabad provided two Biblemen and a light bullock- 
cart to pass from village to village and mela to mela in the 
dominions of the Nizam. In 1863 he was given an assistant 
in the Telugu districts, and three years later he resigned 
and was succeeded by Mr H. Fitzpatrick. The staff was 
now some sixty strong, and attention was turned to its more 
perfect organisation on a somewhat reduced scale. 

Other departments showed the same buoyant energy. 
The Auxiliary inaugurated a public anniversary. In India 
above all countries the spirit of the Bible Society was needed 
to reconcile the antipathies of caste as it reconciled the 
differences of creed. The interest of the native churches was 
stimulated by the circulation of the Jubilee editions. Co- 
operation was sought to make every congregation a collect- 
ing centre in support of the Society. The Biblemen's regular 
circuits were supplemented by missionary tours. New 
Branches were formed. In 1869 there were nineteen depots 
from which the Scriptures were issued to the colporteurs 
and supplied to others engaged in the work of evangelisa- 
tion ; Bangalore in the heart of Mysore, Mangalore on the 
Malabar coast, Secunderabad in the north. South Travancore 
and Tinnevelly in the south had their own local committees ; 
and the Mission presses at Kotayam, Mangalore, and 


Bangalore aided the Auxiliary in producing its Scriptures 
by the hundred thousand in the great Dravidian tongues. 

In the meantime the Auxiliary had heartily concurred in 
the scheme of Indian Agencies proposed by the Committee, 
and in 1866, while Colonel Lamb was breaking his heart in 
a fruitless quest in the North-West Provinces, an organ- 
ising secretary was appointed in Madras. He had scarcely 
accepted office, however, before he was summoned to England 
on private affairs ; after a few months' service, his successor, 
the Rev. Goodeve Mabbs, was similarly recalled ; and in 1869 
Mr Fitzpatrick was given the combined charge of the work 
of the agency and the secretariat of the Auxiliary, while a 
Hindu clergyman, the Rev. Arthur Theophilus of the Church 
Missionary Society, took his place as director of colportage. 

Twelve months later the Auxiliary celebrated its jubilee. 
The changes of half a century were writ large in the extended 
range of Missions, in the illuminating effects of education, 
in the waning prestige of idolatry ; and these changes were 
suffused, as with an ever-deepening colour, by the influence 
of the Scriptures. Upwards of 2,056,000 copies had been put 
into circulation, but the bulk of these (1,196,000) represented 
the work of the last sixteen years. More significant than 
these figures was the new value set upon the Word of God. 
In the last twelve years ;£'i300 had been realised by the 
sale of 300,000 copies ; in the ten preceding, the distribution 
of 200,000 had brought in about ;^ioo. Most striking of 
all was the daily evidence of a new vision and a new hope 
in the minds and hearts of the people. 

In towns and villages alike the Scriptures were bought 
for class books, and even for prizes, by heathen school- 
masters.^ The colporteur often found his best market among 
the throngs at some idolatrous festival. Women pressed 
round, without rebuke from their husbands, to hear his 

' Of the successful working of the Murdoch scheme in Madras, notice has already 
been taken ; p. 384. 


message. From the pages of the Bible he answered the 
wistful cry, "I am drawing to the end of days, what can I 
do to reach the abode of Vishnu ? Shall I dig a tank or build 
a shrine?" Aged men passed into the shadow of death, 
calling upon Christ. In Bengal the unlettered shepherds 
had questioned whether the Shepherds of Bethlehem might 
not have been of their caste and kin, seeing that their 
own fathers before them came out of the West ; so here 
beside the sea on the Coromandel shore caste appealed to 
the fisher -folk. Sitting among them upon the sand the 
missionary read how Peter and James and John were called 
from mending their nets ; he took them through every scene 
in which the water and the fishermen had place, until he came 
to the last when in the sunny haze of the morning the 
divine Figure stood upon the shore ; and when Peter girt 
his fisher coat about him, more than one of these listeners 
reached down and put on his fisher-cloth. Then they asked 
for books, and were told that they were not to be given 
away. "Come back then to us at night," they said, "and 
we will buy them " ; and at sundown each brought a coin 
and paid for the four " books of the fishermen." 

But for the loss of caste with its legal disabilities and 
social estrangement, people might have read over the door 
not of one but of many a Brahmin: "Jehovah is the true 
God, and Him alone do I worship." Occasionally one still 
heard of hostility, of abuse and stoning ; of a dread of the 
Scriptures as things that contained a magical poison which 
drove people mad ; of books kept under the verandah thatch 
for fear of malignant spirits ; but these survivals only 
emphasised the progress that had taken place among Hindus 
and Mohammedans. 

Assisted by an advance of ;^iooo from the Committee 
the Auxiliary transferred its ofl&ces and depot to the 
Memorial Hall in 1872. 

In June 1875 the Bangalore Branch became an in- 


dependent Auxiliary, in direct communication with the Bible 

In 1875 also Mr Fitzpatrick accepted the incumbency of 
the English Church at Chudderghaut, and a few months 
later the Rev. Stephen W. Organe was appointed secretary 
for Madras, a position which he was to hold, with exceptional 
capacity and kindliness of heart, for upwards of thirty years. 

Of later events — the meeting of the Prince of Wales and 
the Tinnevelly Christians, the proclamation of the Queen as 
Empress, the cholera and famine of 1876-78 — something has 
been said in an earlier chapter. The compassion of England 
in the hour of suffering and death had its sequel in the 
conversion of 60,000 people in the Madras Presidency, and 
in the opening of the hearts of thousands more to the spirit 
of Christianity. 

Mr Organe's frequent journeys through his districts 
brought fresh forces into play. Before the period closed 
thirty-three Branches, each with its sub-depot, placed the 
Auxiliary in touch with the remotest part of the Presidency, 
From the plantation coolies in the Nilgiri Hills to the 
shipping in the Madras Roads, from the rajas and zemindars 
of the Mofussil to the officers of coasting steamers, no effort 
was spared to promote the work. And far beyond these 
limits, the Word of God, in Tamil and Telugu, was supplied 
to the coolies in Burma and the Straits Settlements, in 
Mauritius, Natal, and the West Indies. 

Colportage continued to flourish under the care of Mr 
Theophilus, while the co-operation of the missionaries added 
many a heart-stirring incident to the manifestations of the 
Holy Spirit breathing through the inspired Book. The 
men, varying in number from fifty-six to forty-one, travelled 
on an average 65,000 miles year after year, passed through 
10,000 or ir,ooo towns and villages, and stopped at 
200,000 doors. There was scarcely a report that did not 
speak of a score or two of heathen schools for which the 


Gospels were bought by non-Christian teachers ; and in 
more than one village the colporteur was entreated to stay 
with the people as their guru. From the organisation of the 
staff in 1857, 971,740 copies were sold, and realised ;^5388. 

Meanwhile the best scholarship was engaged in transla- 
tion and revision. In Tamil, the only one of the four great 
Dravidian languages in which the Bible existed before the 
Bible Society,^ a tentative "Union version" had appeared 
in 1850. It failed to reach the ideal, and in 1854 the Com- 
mittee moved for the preparation of a Bible which would 
be adopted as the standard version through the Tamil 
mission-field. The project was delayed by retirement and 
death, divergence of opinions, and postal difficulties, but 
in 1857 all the chief Missionary Societies in the Presi- 
dency — the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, the 
Church Missionary Society, the London Missionary Society, 
the Wesleyan Missionary Society, the American Board of 
Missions, and the Scottish Free Church Mission — gave in 
their adhesion. The text of Fabricius was taken as the work- 
ing basis ; rules were drawn up for the settlement of disputed 
points ; and the Rev. Henry Bower, whose expenses were 
shared by the Bible Society and the Society for the Propa- 
gation of the Gospel, was appointed chief reviser. The 
Tamil missionaries of Ceylon alone held aloof. 

The revision, examined in instalments, received its 
imprimatur at four conferences of delegates, the first held 
at Palamcottah in April to June 1861, the last in June to 
October seven years later. The New Testament, "completed 
in unbroken harmony," and adopted as the exclusive text by 
the Madras Auxiliary and the Arcot Mission of the Reformed 
Dutch Church of North America, was issued in 1 864. Genesis, 
the Psalms, and Proverbs were in circulation in 1866, and 
the Pentateuch, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon 

1 The New Testament, by Ziegenbalg, published 1714 ; the Old Testament 
(Genesis to Ruth by Ziegenbalg) completed by Schultze, 1727 ; the Bible, by 
Fabricius, 1782. 


passed to the press. By the end of 1867 ;^4992, of which 
;^34o6 was contributed from the Bible House, was spent 
upon the version. In 1868 the absorbing task of eleven 
years was finished in conference. "The only day that hung 
heavily on our spirits was the last, when we felt that our 
work had come to an end, and that all that remained was to 
prepare to part." 

In the summer of 187 1 the new Tamil Bible (5000 copies) 
was published — a true "Union version," which was the 
means of removing many misconceptions and alienations 
among the missionaries themselves, and in which all sections 
of the Tamil Church met on common ground. After a 
friendly examination of disputed passages with Mr Bower 
and Dr Caldwell (afterwards Bishop of Tinnevelly), even 
the missionaries in Ceylon cordially accepted the version. 
In recognition of Mr Bower's work Archbishop Tait con- 
ferred upon him the degree of D.D. 

Between 1869 and 1884, 602,500 copies of the Tamil 
Scriptures were printed, including 43,000 Bibles and Old 
Testaments and 52,000 New Testaments — in later years with 
references and marginal readings, for the preparation of 
which Dr Bower declined to receive any honorarium . 

In the Telugu country colportage was checked in its early 
stages by the backward condition of the vernacular Scriptures. 
The Jubilee edition of the Old Testament was issued in 1857, 
but it was not until i860 that a revised version of the New 
(Wardlaw's) was published. Between that date and 1864, 
however, 6000 New Testaments and 59,000 Gospels passed 
through the press at Vizagapatam. A Committee on the 
lines of the Tamil Board, with the Rev. John Hay as chief 
translator, was appointed at the close of 1865 for the revision 
of the Old Testament. Various tentative portions were issued 
and references were prepared, but absence, retirement, and 
death greatly impeded the undertaking. An interim Bible, 
in which Genesis - Leviticus, Psalms and Proverbs were 


new work and the Four Gospels a revision, was issued in 
1 88 1, and received with such eagerness that a second im- 
pression was quickly put in hand. The Committee now 
secured Mr Hay's whole time for the work, and in the hope 
that all denominations might concur in the circulation of a 
single version in Telugu and other tongues, it was resolved 
that thenceforth in passages relative to Baptism alternative 
renderings should be given in the margin. 

The revision of the Malayalam New Testament was 
completed in 1856, that of the Old in 1859. This was the 
Bible which Bailey had written on palm-leaves and printed 
from type of his own casting twenty years ago at Kotayam — 
a clear and simple version which appealed especially to the 
south country, the people of the London and Church Mis- 
sionary Societies and the Syrians. In 1854 had appeared a 
translation of the New Testament by Hermann Gundert of 
the Basel Mission, an admirable piece of work, which attracted 
the educated by its assimilation of every beautiful phase in 
the Shastras. Measures were taken for harmonising the two 
versions, with Gundert's text as the working basis ; a board of 
English and German missionaries was appointed, and their 
first conference was held in July 1871, at the moment the 
Tamil version was finished. In 1872 delegates were added 
on behalf of the Syro-Protestant and Syrian Churches and 
a fresh start was made. Under the genial influence of the 
Rev. Henry Baker of the Church Mission the work on the 
New Testament advanced to Hebrews, and various Portions 
were put into circulation ; but after his death in 1877 the 
linguistic differences of North and South, and the attach- 
ment of the Syrian Church to the older version, protracted 
the completion of the volume until 1880. An edition of 
8000 was then printed. Later an interim edition of the 
Bible was published by the Auxiliary, and the Committee 
aided the Basel Mission in the production of Gundert's 
translation of the poetical books of the Old Testament, 


Here a word must be added regarding that ancient 
Syrian community, whose origin is lost in the mists of 
legend. During twenty years of intrigue, dissension, and 
ecclesiastical litigation which the Patriarch of Antioch 
brought upon the Church of Malabar, the Metran, Mar 
Athanasius Matthew, strove for reform, encouraged the 
reading of the Scriptures, and used all the apparatus of 
evangelical work for the good of his people. In the midst 
of these troubles Travancore became in 1873-74 the scene 
of a revival which developed other anxieties and dangers. 
New churches were formed, but out of the unrestrained 
excitement of the ignorant sprang up a sect of ' ' Six Year 
Men," who proclaimed "the coming of King Jesus of 
Nazareth " on the first Sunday in June 1880, adopted from 
the Apocalypse a wild liturgy of four-and-twenty elders in 
white raiment, four beasts full of eyes, and other symbolisms, 
and carried fanaticism to the verge of madness and murder. 
The turmoil was heightened by the presence of his Holiness 
Peter III., "chief authority on the Apostolic Throne of 
Antioch," of whom it is here sufficient to remember that 
he proscribed the Word of God and rifled a great Church- 
man's tomb in search of treasure. The worst phases of 
these disorders passed quickly.^ Copies of the Malayalam 
Bible were presented by the Auxiliary to the revival 
churches. In an allocution to "Our Syro-Chaldaic children 
in Malabar" Bishop Melius urged the reading of "the 
Bible printed and published by the Bible Society," and 
besought a kindly reception for the colporteur, "who 
brings you the Bread of Life." An eager interest in the 
Syriac Scriptures was awakened, and during the latter years 
of the period the Peshito, a most ancient version, became 
the newest in demand. 

In the fourth great language, Kanarese, the New 

' The strange and discreditable story of this time is told in Milne Rae, The 
Syrian Church in India, pp. 304-326. 

VOL. III. 2 D 


Testament was published with additional emendations in 
1854. A tentative edition of the Old Testament — pre- 
ceded by separate Portions — appeared in i860; and in 
1865 two editions, one printed at Bangalore, the other at 
Mangalore, brought to conclusion the labours of the Basel, 
London, and Wesleyan missionary committee appointed 
twenty years before, presented a new translation rather 
than a revision, and gave the whole Bible, with references, 
in a single quarto volume instead of four bulky octavos.^ 

About this time the harmonious relations between the 
Madras Auxiliary and its Branch at Bangalore were disturbed 
by various matters connected with the Kanarese version 
— the most important being the question of a more con- 
venient edition. Welcome as the new Bible was, its useful- 
ness was minimised by its size, which prevented a wide and 
rapid circulation. Repeated applications to Madras were 
set aside on such grounds as the large stock of quartos, 
the small number of Kanarese Christians, the unnecessary 
luxury of a portable volume. The Bangalore Society, 
which probably dated from 1825^ and had been from 1853 
one of the largest contributors to the funds of the Auxiliary, 
felt that the interests of the Kanarese version were over- 
shadowed by the Tamil and Telugu, and that it would be 
for the benefit of their own people and of the cause of the 
Bible Society if a distinct Auxiliary were formed to supply 
the Kanarese Scriptures. 

Accordingly, in June 1875, Bangalore assumed the posi- 
tion of a substantive Auxiliary. The step was approved by 
the Kanarese Missions. The Parent Society gave its aid 

' Chief revisers — the Rev. C. Campbell (London Missionary Society), who 
worked over the Historical Books and Job partly on the basis of the Hands and 
Reeve version, partly on that of a new translation by G. H . Weigle of the Basel 
Mission, and the Rev. B. Rice (London Missionary Society), who revised the 
Prophetical Books wholly on the basis of Weigle. 

^ The first mention of the Bangalore Bible and Tract Association occurs in a 
Mission report for 1829. In January 1853 the Bible department became a Branch 
of the Madras Auxiliary, the Book and Tract united with the Bangalore School-book 

i884] DAKHANI AND KOI 419 

in stock, paper, and money grants. The Auxiliary took 
over their own colporteurs, and arranged for missionary 
tours. With the sanction of the Chief Commissioner, the 
Word of God was placed in the library of every school in 
Mysore ; and a year or two later the Bangalore committee 
was intrusted with the administration of the Scripture prize 
fund raised as a memorial of a distinguished Christian 
officer. General Dobbs. A portable Kanarese Bible in 
8vo was published in 1877, and proved so acceptable that 
an edition in still more handy form (crown i6mo) left the 
press as the period closed. From 1875 the Bangalore 
Auxiliary circulated over 82,000 copies of Scripture, of 
which some 65,300 were in Kanarese, and 34,000 were 
sold by about a dozen colporteurs. The Committee's 
expenditure in connection with this work was ;^i225. 

The Madras language-list contained two other tongues, 
Dakhani, "the Urdu of the Deccan," and Koi, the speech of 
a branch of the Gond aborigines who held the central table- 
land before the Marathas. Except the Gospels, adapted from 
Henry Martyn's Urdu version, nothing was available in 
Dakhani until 1858, when Genesis, brought to its final form 
by Captain F. H. Scott of the Madras Army, was printed in 
England. The whole of the New Testament, transposed 
from Urdu by a committee appointed in 1861, was issued in 
1867. Death interrupted the work on the Old Testament, 
but the book of Proverbs, prepared by the Rev. E. Sell of 
the Church Missionary Society and three military officers, 
appeared in 1878, and in 1879 the Psalter was published 
in Arabic character. 

In Koi, St Luke and the First Epistle of St John were 
translated from Telugu by three of the tribe under General 
Haig of Dummagudem on the Upper Godavari, and the 
Committee printed them in London for the Madras Auxiliary. 

The story of Madras was a remarkable illustration of the 
methods of Bible-work — of the vital importance of the sale 


principle, of the "drill-power" of colportage, and of the 
value of agency control. From 1820 to 1854 the circulation 
of the Madras Auxiliary was 860,000. In the next fifteen 
years it leaped up to 1,136,000. In the fifteen following it 
was 1,265,000. Between 1854 and 1884 the issues of Calcutta, 
North India, the Panjab, Bombay, and Bangalore — in a word, 
of all the other Indian Auxiliaries together — formed an 
aggregate of 2,262,000 copies. Madras exceeded that with a 
total of 2,402,000. 

The expenditure of the Parent Society on the work of 
Madras was ;^82,792 ; of which ;^49i6 appears to have been 
spent on the Tamil, and ;£^i7,565 on colportage in the last 
fifteen years.^ 

We pass to the closely related work of Ceylon, a miniature 
India, in which the linguistic areas were geographically 
reversed — a Dravidian people speaking Tamil in the north, 
an Aryan speaking Sinhali in the south, while between 
them, an older race than either, the Rock Veddahs haunted 
the caves and tropic forests of the Bintenne, broken country 
about the base of the mountainous centre of the Island. 

Sinhali was the eighth and last of the great Aryan group 
of Indian Bible languages, and the union committee, drawn 
together by a more conciliatory spirit from the Colombo 
missions, had in hand the revision of the version. Little had 
been done before fresh supplies of Scripture were needed, and 
an interim edition of the Old Testament, amended by the 
Church, Wesleyan, and Baptist delegates, was published in 
1856. The revised New Testament was issued in 1857, and 
completed a provisional version acceptable to all denomina- 
tions. The Baptists and Wesleyans adopted it ; it was exten- 
sively circulated by the Church Mission, and Bishop Chapman 
became a subscribing member of the Auxiliary. Grants of 

• The effect of the Auxiliary's pubhcations was seen even in the native book-trade. 
The Ramayana, once sold at 5s., was now published at is. 6d., and "favourite little 
heathen books " were offered at a farthing and a farthing and a half. 


;£'550, binding materials, and 500 reams of paper ^ were voted 
by the Committee for what it was hoped would be ' ' the 
standard edition " of the Sinhali Old Testament. Genesis 
and Exodus, translated in the colloquial style by the Rev. 
D. J. Gogerly of the Wesleyan Mission, secretary of the 
Auxiliary and a master of Buddhistic literature, were adopted 
by the board of delegates in 1861. In 1863, however, a few 
months after his death, the colloquial style was abandoned 
as unsuitable ; it was decided to adhere to the interim text 
until a more perfect translation could be obtained; and the 
appointment of a board of inquiry was the last incident, for 
over twenty years, in connection with the Sinhali version. 
Colombo was one of Fortune's caravanserais, full of new 
faces. Constant changes in the local committee and among 
the officials of the Auxiliary left many gaps in its records. 
From 1858 to 1864 no report was issued. After that it became 
triennial. In 1865 the annual public meeting was revived by 
Bishop Claughton ; in 1872 his successor Dr Jermyn preached 
on behalf of the Society. Bibles were presented in the earlier 
years to newly-married Christian couples and to every house- 
hold joining in family prayer, and these books were highly 
prized and sometimes sought from long distances. In 1863 
the principle of sale was adopted, and the Scriptures were 
supplied at half price to vernacular schools. Two depots 
were opened in Colombo ; two colporteurs, a Sinhalese and a 
Tamil, were employed in the city and surrounding country ; 
and a special effort was made among the fourteen or fifteen 
thousand carriers who carted coffee and other merchandise 
from the interior to the coast. Remittances on purchase 
account, and editions in Sinhali, grants of Scriptures in other 
languages, and the Committee's expenditure of ;^6o49 in the 
thirty years indicated progress of which little note was taken. 
As the centre of sea-traffic shifted from Point de Galle to the 

^ On appeal to the Home Government Bible Society paper was exempted from 
duty by Sir George Grey in 1856, and the charges on iioo reams were refunded by 
the Customs. 


harbour of Colombo, the Auxiliary felt the need of a great 
depot to supply seamen from all parts of the world with the 
Word of God in their mother-tongue, and in 1883, under the 
energetic influence of Dr Murdoch, a site was acquired for 
premises to be shared by the Bible Society, the Religious 
Tract Society, and the Christian Vernacular Education 

An Auxiliary for Central Ceylon was founded at Kandy, 
the beautiful mountain City of the Sacred Tooth, in 1855. 
The Committee promptly gave its encouragement. An 
edition of 15,000 copies of St John in Sinhali was printed 
locally ; missionaries were supplied for their itinerations, 
and two Kandyan converts were sent out as colporteurs. 
Half the population could read. By the end of 1862, 14,100 
Sinhali Gospels and 4800 Bibles and Testaments, chiefly 
in English, had been put into circulation. Ten thousand 
copies of Genesis, printed partly at the cost of the Auxiliary, 
appeared in 1865, and branch depots were opened at Badulla, 
Gampola, and Nuwara Eliya. In 1869 one heard of the little 
books in distant places and of villagers abandoning their 
idols. The secretary left in 1870, old friends left or died, 
and then, save for the two flickering gleams of an attempted 
revival, all was blank for over a dozen years ; but in 1884, 
thanks to the initiative of Dr Murdoch, preparations were 
made for a fresh start. 

Meanwhile the single-mindedness and brotherly co-opera- 
tion of the Jaffna Missions seemed an after-glow of the 
Early Church itself. The Committee provided funds and 
ample supplies of Scriptures, and eight Tamil converts began 
colportage in 1856, under the direction of the American, 
Wesleyan, and Church Societies. At times they were ac- 
companied by some of the missionaries, with catechists and 
other native helpers. Bible gatherings were held in connec- 
tion with the work, and attracted even Roman Catholics 
and Buddhist priests. The Missions combined for " union " 


or "alliance" meetings in the large station churches, in 
the school bungalows or under the village trees, and after- 
wards for the "moonlight meetings," between April and 
August, which became most popular of all. Along the 
western shore the colporteurs travelled down to Manaar, 
the last pier of Adam's Bridge ; they ranged along the east 
to Trincomalee and the rice-fields and cocoa-nut plantations 
of Batticaloa. On the high beetling foreland of Trincomalee, 


the Rock of God, there still survived the worship of Iswara, 
"by far the most ancient faith of the Island";^ and at 
sunset on Monday and Friday, water and milk were poured 
out in libation on the rock, to the strains of an immemorial 
litany ; and offerings of flowers, coins, cocoa-nuts, bunches 
of plantains, and baskets of grain were cast far out into the 
sea to the Almighty Giver. 

In 1864 Tamil Biblewomen were introduced at Nellore, 
near Jaffna. The movement was adopted by the other 
Missions, and was assisted by the Committee, and in course 
of time from twenty to twenty -five were employed. 

A slight break in the routine of the Auxiliary was 
occasioned by changes in the Mission staffs in 1866, but 
the local committee was strengthened by the inclusion of 
pastors and laymen from the Tamil Churches in Jaffna, 
Trincomalee, and Batticaloa, and the work was continued 
with renewed ardour and stability. 

The difficulties connected with the Tamil version — 
"immeasurably less than we had supposed on both sides 
of the water" — were happily removed by the judgment and 
tact of Dr Spaulding of the American Board and the Rev. 
J. Kilner of the Wesleyan Society ; the willingness of he 
people to pay for the Scriptures led to the discontinuance 
of free distribution in 1870 ; and a year later the new Tamil 
Bible, "the golden link between the Churches of South 
India and Ceylon," was received with delight, and extensively 

' Gordon-Cumming, Two Haffy Years in Ceylon, vol. ii. pp. 143-146, 


Once more, in 1873, illness and the death of old friends 
— among them Dr Spaulding, one of the founders of the 
Auxiliary and for over fifty years a translator and reviser — 
checked the steady course of progress. The pause was but 
momentary, and thenceforward Bible-work proceeded with- 
out interruption. Special efforts were made among the 
pearl-fishers on the northern coasts and the Veddahs near 
Batticaloa. More liberal support was contributed by the 
Tamil Christians, in whose gardens it was a common thing 
to see every tenth palm or fruit-tree devoted to some sacred 
purpose. Day schools and Sunday schools increased, and 
with them the demand for the Scriptures both in the ver- 
nacular and in English. The Bible or the New Testament 
was in nearly every Christian home, and notwithstanding 
the opposition of the worshippers of Siva, hundreds of 
heathen families possessed a Gospel or Portion, often kept 
in a nook in the thatch with the family horoscope. 

Nearly 55,000 copies of Scripture were circulated by the 
Jaffna Auxiliary in the thirty years, and the Society's 
expenditure amounted to ;^i9i5. 

To sum up the broad results in these vast regions of the 
East: Between 1854 and 1884 the Auxiliaries in India and 
Ceylon issued 4,803,000 copies of Scripture. Adding the 
distribution of earlier years, the aggregate circulation from 
the beginning stood now at 7,053,000 copies. 

The aggregate yearly issues rose from 130,000 in 1854, 
when the great bulk was given away, to 266,000 in 1883, 
when free distribution was wholly exceptional. In 1861 
there were 36 colporteurs attached to the various Auxiliaries. 
The number was 187 in 1883, and their sales covered more 
than half of the year's circulation. 

The Society's expenditure in the thirty years amounted 

to ;^i83,6i3. In addition, the proceeds of the sales of the 

Auxiliaries went towards the cost of distribution.^ 

^ Except in the case of Ceylon, which, however, was granted the same privilege 
in :883. 


The past showed a more and more assured expansion. 
The future was flushed with promise. A great development 
of elementary education was confidently expected as the 
result of Lord Ripon's Commission of Inquiry, and ;^30oo, 
over and above the usual subsidies, was voted to furnish 
the Auxiliaries with ample supplies of Scripture to meet an 
enlarged demand. 

Finally the year 1883 was signalised by a new departure. 
In connection with the Indian Missions and Zenana Societies 
the Committee made its first systematic grants — ;^ii52 — in 
support of Biblewomen in the East. 



In 1856 the Society came into touch with the work of the 
American Baptist missionaries in Burma, where "a kind of 
Messianic hope, based on old traditions, had made ready 
a fruitful soil for the preaching of the Gospel."^ Its co- 
operation was needed for the printing of the Scriptures in 
the speech of the Karens — "the Barbarians," as the Burmese 
called the tribes of their highlands. There were three salient 
dialects. The whole Bible, translated by the Karen pioneer, 
Jonathan Wade, and Dr Francis Mason of Tungu, had 
appeared in Sgau, the tongue of the numerous White 
Karens, who inhabited Pegu and Tenasserim. Two Gospels, 
by Mason and his colleague D. L. Brayton, had been 
published in Pwo, which was spoken only along the 
Tenasserim coast from Mergui to the Sittang River and 
westward to Bassein. Bghai was the dialect of the water- 
shed between the Sittang and the Salween. 

In answer to a request for assistance towards an edition 
of the Bible in Pwo-Karen, the Committee authorised the 
outlay of ;^5oo through the Calcutta Auxiliary, but their 
good-will was apparently rendered ineffectual by the old 
difficulty of the "Baptism" texts. The way was clear, 
however, in the case of Dr Mason, and two editions of the 
Sermon on the Mount (5000 copies), which he had translated 
into Bghai-Karen, were printed at Rangoon. The little 

' Warneck, Outline of a History of Protestant Missions, p. 278. See also vol. ii. 
p. 123, for the old Pali prophecy. 


[1854-1884] BURMESE VERSIONS 427 

books were circulated throughout "our fifty Bghai Christian 
villages," and were eagerly sought for and learned by heart 
by scores of bright-eyed boys and girls. These were 
followed by 3000 copies of the Epistle of James and the 
three Epistles of John in 1858, and by 3000 of Genesis to 
Exodus i.-xx. in 1859. Then in 1861 appeared in Pwo-Karen 
the Psalms, Daniel, and Jonah translated by Mr Brayton ; 
and in 1862 an edition of the Psalter (2000 copies) was added 
to the Bghai version. 

It was the year in which Arakan, Pegu, and Tenasserim 
were included in the Empire of India as British Burma. 
The Burma Bible and Tract Society, which had just been 
founded at Rangoon, appealed for help in printing the 
Sgau-Karen Bible. The local stock had been exhausted ; 
evangelists were unable to obtain copies for their work ; 
schools were suffering ; among 6000 communicants at 
Bassein there were not twenty Bibles. The Committee 
offered to defray the cost of an edition of 5000 (;^25oo) if 
the Society's regulations were observed, and at once voted 
;^5oo for the Old Testament Portions. Genesis to Exodus 
and Proverbs and Psalms were hurried through the press, 
but with regard to the larger proposal, the ' ' Baptism " con- 
troversy evidently proved once more a root of division : the 
Sgau Bible appeared in 1867, and the Society's name was 
not included in the imprint. In addition a consignment of 
Scriptures in the Western languages was sent out for the 
Europeans of Rangoon, which was now changing from a 
mere village of the Irawadi delta to a city of palaces ; Dr 
Mason was granted ;^ioo for the purchase of Karen Portions; 
and in 1867 the Committee provided paper for an edition of 
Isaiah, transferred from the Sgau into the Pwo dialect. 

By this time the schools of the Society for the Propa- 
gation of the Gospel had awakened an eager desire for 
education. Dr Marks, who had charge of the movement, 
was sent for in 1869 by the King of Burma to establish 


Christian schools in Mandalay. He took with him as a 
gift from the Bible Society a copy of the Burmese Bible 
"beautifully covered with gold." The King accepted it 
with pleasure, built him a school, and sent nine of his sons 
to it — "nine princes on nine elephants, with eighteen gold 
umbrellas and four hundred soldiers for escort. "^ 

Psalms, Proverbs, and five other books of the Burmese 
Old Testament were issued between 1870 and 1875 with 
the imprint of the British and Foreign and the Burma 
Bible and Tract Societies. In 1876 the Government readily 
assented to the presentation of the Scriptures to the schools 
throughout the Province, where, it was ascertained, even 
the Buddhist priests and teachers would welcome the Bible. 
As need arose, grants were made to the Seamen's Mission 
(nine-tenths of the shipping at Rangoon flew foreign flags), 
supplies were sent for the benefit of the Eurasian popula- 
tion, and cheap school-books were provided for the Karen 
children. A small depot was opened for the supply and 
sale of the Word of God in English ; and in the last year 
of the period ;^ioo was voted for a beginning in colportage, 
and ;^200 for the printing of Scripture Portions in accordance 
with the Society's regulations. 

We go down by Penang, and once again enter the 
great water-gate of the Spice Regions. Singapore, with its 
pageant of ships, its quays and roads thronged with junks, 
praus, tramp steamers, merchantmen, liners of East and 
West, its endless flux and reflux of people — Chinese and 
Indians, men of Java, Borneo, Celebes, and a hundred 
isles, is more and more an ideal station for Bible distribu- 
tion. But things are almost at a standstill for lack of 
workers. Missionaries are too few and too busy to help. 

' Some forty years before, during the first Burmese war, Dr Judson, the translator 
of the version, was barbarously imprisoned by the King's father ; his wife lost her 
reason ; their babe died before his eyes while he was bound in the stocks ; and the 
MS. of the New Testament narrowly escaped destruction. 


Little or nothing is attempted among the 70,000 China- 
men ; no one preaches Christ among the Malays. A 
veteran from Hong-Kong, a young man from home in 
his first ardour, offers the Society his services ; to-morrow 
his place knows him no more. Everything is shifting, 
changing, passing away. Only one man's name runs 
through the Society's pages for twenty years. 

Mr Keasberry's Malay version of the New Testament, 
in Roman character, left the press in 1853. In 1856 the 
Arabic edition is ready. In 1856 the word "Malaysia" 
appears for the first time in the Reports. In 1857 the 
friends at Singapore succeed in forming a Ladies' Bible 
and Tract Society. Strange ! — not a trace of the Auxiliary 
of 1837 or of the Ladies' Association "for the whole of the 
Straits Settlements" seems to linger in any one's memory. 

Meanwhile a few Christian young men give what 
assistance they can in their spare time, and pious store- 
keepers give away copies to their native customers. Con- 
signments are forwarded to Malacca and Penang, to Java, 
to Labuan, Sarawak, and Banjarmassin, to Celebes, and 
even to Ceylon and Shanghai. It is a trial of faith to 
work on cheerfully in the unsympathetic silence. " No 
one," writes Keasberry, "has ever yet supplied me with 
any information regarding the distribution of the Word 
of God." In a little while fresh editions are needed — 
Arabic and Roman. Keasberry has them lithographed 
and printed at the Singapore Mission Press, on which he 
depends for his livelihood, and his correspondence reaches 
out to the Cape, "where there are many Malay readers." 
In 1859 his version of the Old Testament begins to reach 
the light with the publication of Proverbs. 

In 1870 there is a sudden stirring of the waters. Under 
the fervid influence of Major Malan, the Ladies' Society, 
which has done its best with a single Malay colporteur, 
separates its Bible from its Tract Department, and co- 


operates in the formation of a new Auxiliary. A strange 
American enthusiast, on his way round the globe with the 
Scriptures/ shows what wonders may be done by the 
house-to-house visitation of a stout-hearted Bibleman ; but 
it seems impossible to find in Singapore any hopeful sort 
of worker. 

In spite of illness the Malay Psalter appears locally in 
1873, and in the following year the Rev. E. W. King of 
Meester Cornelis, Batavia, undertakes an adaptation of the 
New Testament for the Dutch section of the Malays of 
Sumatra.^ In 1874 the Committee sent Mr Keasberry a 
cheque for ;^ioo — a timely recognition of good work 
bravely done. "For some days before your letter came," 
he writes, " my wife and I were at a loss what to do to 
meet the expenses of our children's schooling at Waltham- 
stow." Thank God, that black care is turned into the 
morning ! Isaiah is translated, Leviticus is in progress, 
and "at the age of sixty-eight, when men expect to close 
their earthly service,"* he looks out in clear hopefulness to 
the great work yet to do. In September 1875 he has 
reached the Second Book of Kings. A few days later, on 
the 6th of the month, while he is speaking at the usual 
prayer-meeting of his Malays, there is a sudden failure of 
the heart, and the busy life is ended. " Now that he is 
gone," writes the secretary of the Auxiliary, "there is not 
one in this peninsula to labour for the Malays, nor is there 
a Protestant missionary for the multitude of Chinese in 
this town."^ 

The Bible House was in close touch during these years 

1 W. Paul Bagley, whom we shall meet again in China. 

2 This project was not completed before the departure of Mr King, who left in 
1877 on account of bad health. He brought home, however, a Low Malay 
translation of Exodus by Mr J. L. Martens, and 500 copies were printed. 

■* Benjamin Peach Keasberry arrived in Singapore in 1839. On the withdrawal 
of the London Mission in 1847 he resigned that he might continue his labours among 
the Malays. 


with the version work in the island tongues of the Nether- 
lands Bible Society and the Dutch and German Missions. 
In 1858 Hardeland completed the Dyak Bible for the tribes 
once known as the Head-hunters of Borneo. In 1864 the 
Committee shared with the Netherlands Mission Union the 
cost of a translation for the people of Western Java, and 
in 1877 the whole Sunda New Testament was printed in 
Holland. In 1853 translation began in the speech of the 
Battas, tribes of the Sumatra highlands, and the only 
cannibals in the world known to have an alphabet. Mr R. 
Arthington paid for the printing of St Luke at Meester 
Cornells in 1873. In 1878 St Matthew, and in the follow- 
ing year the New Testament, were published at Elberfeld 
at the cost of the Society. These, the work of Dr A. 
Schreiber of the Rhenish Mission, were in Mandailing, the 
dialect of the more civilised south. In Toba, the northern 
and more widespread dialect, the Society issued Matthew 
and John in 1877 and the New Testament in 1878, a new 
translation by J. L. Nommensen of the same mission.^ 
So at last, five and a half centuries after Odoric the 
Franciscan touched at Sumatra on his way to Cathay, the 
Word of God came to the Islanders. 

For over 1000 miles Sumatra stretches along the Indian 
Ocean. At sunrise its mountain-shadows sweep out towards 
the Island of Nias, with its large villages on the southern 
plains and its northern homesteads perched on high rocks 
reached by ladders. In Nias the Rev. J. Denninger of the 
Barmen Mission began to translate in 1865, and nine years 
later the Committee issued the Gospel of Luke. In 1876 they 
expected both Mark and Luke in the language of the Island of 
Bali, but nothing seems to have come of their arrangements. 

Off the north-eastern point of Celebes, Tagulandang of 
the Sangir cluster lies between two volcanoes springing out 

' In 1859 Genesis, Exodus, Luke, and John in Toba had been published by the 
Dutch Bible Society. 


of the sea. Ships give its currents a wide berth ; no steamers 
call. At the close of the fifties the Moravian missionary 
F. Kelling came hither, bought land, and built house and 
church in the middle of the village on the southern shore, 
looking out to the volcano Ruang. Finding their power 
slip away before the influence of the Gospel, the Moslem 
Rajah and some of his chiefs began to plot against him. 
Ruang burst into flames in the midst of their intrigues. The 
people saw from the church, to which they had crowded in 
their terror, the cone of the volcano blown off into the Strait. 
A huge wave rolled in to the shore, divided in front of the 
church, and swept past on either hand with a wild wreckage 
of fishing craft, huts, and drowning men. Fear quelled the 
conspiracy. . . . The Sangir New Testament was the work 
of twenty years. In 1880, when Luke and John were 
published, the population was put down at 80,000, of whom 
10,000 had been baptized. The Gospels were received with 
joy, and in 1883, when the New Testament was ready for 
circulation, Mr Kelling forwarded £25 to the Bible House 
"in heart-felt acknowledgment." 

For six years after Mr Keasberry's death the Singapore 
Auxiliary struggled with the difficulties of the situation. On 
an average about 1200 copies a year were given away by 
volunteer distributers, but little else was practicable. In 
1880 General Sir Arthur Cotton drew attention to the im- 
portance of Singapore as a Bible Society base. Miss Cook, 
who had made it her field of Christian work for thirty years, 
pressed upon the Committee the need for organised effort. 
Lastly, the Auxiliary itself urgently asked for a qualified 
agent. At that juncture Mr John Haffenden offered his 
services. Age, character, linguistic knowledge, long resi- 
dence at Singapore, Swatow, Manila, marked him out for a 
man who had been called. 

Early in 1882 he reached his post as the Society's first 
agent for Malaysia ; started his staff of colporteurs with one 


Chinese and two Tamil converts ; made his first excursion 
— to Java, where he strengthened relations with the Nether- 
lands Society and missionaries, and sold, with the help of 
his young son, several hundred copies in a tour through the 
island. By the end of 1883 two sub-depots had been opened 
in Penang, one in Larut, three in Java, and two in Singapore ; 
the principle of sale had been established, and the year's 
circulation was 6879 volumes in twenty languages. 

So far as it is possible to trace financial details, the outlay 
of the Society during the thirty years in connection with the 
versions and distribution in Malaysia amounted to ;^4266. 

VOL. III. 2 E 



In the broad and enthusiastic simplicity of its first conception 
at least, the Million Testament scheme was never realised. 
The brilliant prospects of a rapid and unchecked circulation 
of the Scriptures faded away ; the cause was obstructed by 
the very rebellion which once seemed a mighty engine 
breaking down the idolatry and arrogant scholasticism of 
centuries ; China indeed was open as it had never been 
before, but the Chinese heart and intellect were inaccessible. 

These disappointments and " hopes removed " were laid 
before God in prayer. The Testament Fund increased until 
in the long run it amounted to ;^52,368 ; and for twenty 
years it provided for the Society's entire expenditure in 
China. The last contributions, which included a small sum 
from the Toronto Auxiliary and ' ' £2 from children of the 
Free Church, Dollar, per Mr Wang T'aou," were received 
in 1870 ; the final disbursement was made in 1874. 

Long before the missionaries lost confidence in the 
Christian principles of the insurgent chiefs,^ it had become 

^ As late as i860 many of the missionaries at Shanghai were convinced, through 
personal interviews and correspondence, that the Chung Wang ("Sincere King") 
and Hung Jin, the " Shield King," were as firmly resolved on the overthrow of idolatry 
and the establishment of Christianity as they were on the destruction of the Manchu 
d3masty. {Waidlavr ThompsoD, Grifii^ /oAn, pp. 124-142.) It was still a question, 
wrote Mr Muirhead, " as to which of the belligerents offered the most inviting sphere 
of labour," the Imperialists under the compulsion of Treaty clauses, or the Insurgents 
who spontaneously offered every facility for missionary enterprise. Even to-day 
judgment is affected by the grace of early promise and eager hopes ; and the Taiping 
Rebellion, which for fifteen years wasted the richest provinces of China and cost the 
lives of twenty millions of people, is remembered as " a sad story of high purpose 
deteriorated by success, and of lofty ideals corrupted by the cruelty, the plunder, and 
the licence of war. " 


[1854-1884] SOME OF THE GREAT NAMES 43S 

evident that patient and unremitting work, carried out on 
the ordinary lines and aided by native effort, was the only 
condition on which progress was possible. In 1854 a grant 
of ;^iooo had been placed at their disposal by the Committee 
to cover the expenses of colportage. The most northerly 
of the five ports to which they were restricted by treaty, 
Shanghai gave access to a densely populated country which, 
with the exception of the region held by the Insurgents, was 
open for hundreds of miles in all directions. Among the 
adventurous pioneers of that time were the gifted men whose 
names will for ever be associated with the founding of the 
Church in China — Medhurst, and Edkins and Cobbold of 
Ningpo, Burns and Lockhart, Muirhead, Burdon (afterwards 
third Bishop of Victoria), Hudson Taylor, and Griffith John. 
In the last of his distant excursions, Medhurst travelled 500 
miles ; seven cities and a number of celebrated monasteries 
were visited, and everywhere the Gospel was preached and 
the Word of God distributed without hindrance from the 
mandarins or annoyance from the people.^ Shanghai and 
its suburbs were immense emporiums of native and foreign 
commerce ; innumerable traders were constantly coming and 
going ; half of the over-sea traffic of the empire passed up 
and down the Wusung River ; and many thousands of junks 
called on their way northward with the imperial grain. 
Among these busy crowds of people and shipping the 
Scriptures were distributed ; many copies were carried inland 
to remote places, and in several instances the persons into 
whose hands they fell came from their distant homes to 
inquire further into the doctrines of the Sacred Book. 

At this point various incidents in the Society's work must 
be briefly chronicled. 

In 1854, it will, be remembered, the revised text of the 
Delegates' Old Testament was issued, and the Chinese Bible 

1 On the 24th January 1857, two days after landing in England, Dr Medhurst, 
who had been summoned home for the benefit of his health, died at the age of sixty- 
one, " crowned with forty years of magnificent service." 


appeared in 1855 in a single volume at is. 6d. On the 
23rd June 1856, while a large edition of the New Testament 
in Mandarin Colloquial was passing through the press, fire 
broke out on the printing premises of the London Missionary 
Society,^ and press material, the historic font of Manchu type 
from St Petersburg, and Chinese, Mongolian, and Mandarin 
Scriptures, to the value of ;^200o, were destroyed. In 1857, 
for the first time, Chinese converts were sent out alone on 
a tour of some hundreds of miles, but their arrest and 
imprisonment showed the necessity of having a European 
in charge of such expeditions. In the same year Mr 
Muirhead, who had taken Dr Medhurst's place as secretary 
of the Shanghai committee, ventured to depart from the 
custom of gratuitous distribution which had hitherto pre- 
vailed in China. 

Thus far, although the Scriptures had been given freely 
to all who were willing to accept them, the average circula- 
tion had not much exceeded 31,000 copies a year, or a total 
of 156,000 from 1854 to the end of 1858. Consequently the 
arrangements for giving immediate effect to the Million 
scheme had resulted in large accumulations of stock for 
which there was yet no adequate method of distribution. 
In addition to various editions of the Bible, 313,000 copies 
of the New Testament had been printed at Shanghai, Hong- 
Kong, Canton, Fu-chau, and Amoy. On the suggestion 
of the committee at Shanghai, where there were nearly 
200,000 volumes in store, printing was suspended, and Mr 
Alexander Wylie, who had been sent out in 1847 at the 
Society's expense as manager of the London Missionary 
Society press, was assigned the task of organising and 
directing a staff of Chinese Biblemen. 

It was a moment of supreme interest and of dangerous 
contingencies. The hostilities provoked by "the Arrow 

' The machine-power was supplied by buffaloes, and while these, were being 
"smoked" against mosquitoes, the straw caught fire, and the flames spread to the 
paper stores. 


outrage" at Canton had closed in the Treaty of Tientsin, 
and the Chinese Government appeared to have abandoned 
its policy of exclusion, when the whole situation was changed 
by Admiral Hope's disastrous failure to force a passage for 
the envoys up the Peiho River. The mandarins took 
advantage of the defeat to inflame the mob ; the missions 
were charged with kidnapping men for the coolie traders ; 
an attack was made on the chapels in Shanghai ; placards 
incited the people of the towns and villages to kill every 
foreigner associated with native converts in the spread of 
Christianity. More serious evils were averted by the sur- 
render of Pekin to the Allies in October i860, and the 
ratification of the Treaty of Tientsin. 

The Treaty of Tientsin marks the turning-point in the 
history of Bible-work in China. It recognised Christianity, 
conceded the right to travel, and threw open nine new 
ports, including Newchwang in Manchuria, and Kiukiang 
and Hankow on the Yangtse River. In March 1861 Mr 
Muirhead accompanied the Admiral's expedition up the great 
river. Where the Han flows into the Yangtse, 600 miles 
from the sea, one looks down from the Dragon Hill on 
the crowding of three walled cities — Wuchang, with a popu- 
lation of 800,000, separated by a mile of racing waters from 
Hankow and Hanyang, which stretch away in vistas of 
masts and "a huddle of roofs covering more than a million 
people." It was the most marvellous spectacle even in the 
swarming life of China, and the Committee were urged to 
make Hankow the headquarters of an agency which should 
penetrate the unexplored regions of the empire. That step 
was not taken, but Mr Griffith John formed a station there 
in the autumn of 1861, and in after years Hankow, with 
its corresponding committee, became an important centre 
of distribution. 

Chefoo had already been occupied ; mission-work was 
started at Tientsin, where a corresponding committee was 


formed in 1862 ; and at Pekin Dr Lockhart prepared the 
way for his colleagues by beginning medical practice. 
Chinese converts were sent out as colporteurs from Chefoo 
and Tientsin. One found many copies of the New Testa- 
ment carried far inland by merchants and sailors from 
Shanghai ; the other was asked in more than one village 
to stay and teach, was pressed to accept money, and was 
finally escorted on his way when he departed. In 1862 Mr 
Edkins visited Pekin, distributed Mongol Portions among 
the Lamas in the Tartar monasteries, and came in contact 
with the tribesmen of the desert who followed their khans 
to the metropolis. He took up his residence there in the 
following year, and formed yet another corresponding com- 
mittee. By a happy conjuncture Mr Wylie, who had 
returned home in i860 and had been appointed agent for 
the Society in China, ^ was at that time on his way to the 
East, travelling through Russia to Omsk, Irkutsk, Kiachta, 
and the Desert. Mr Edkins set out on the caravan route 
from Pekin to meet him. With clanking bells in a haze of 
dust, camel-trains loaded with brick-tea went up to Siberia ; 
and down from Mongolia came shaggy Tartars with flocks 
of sheep, droves of ponies, endless files of camels bringing 
furs, salt, wood, and coal. Among the steep, bare hills, 
showing at intervals an empty tower, a loop of battlements, 
a pinnacle-temple, a sacred inscription cut in the rock, the 
cramped Ninkou pass ascended to the Pa-ta-ling Gate in 
the inner Great Wall of the seventh century. Beyond these 
were fortified cities and market-towns — Sachung, Paognan, 
Siien-wha-fu with its 90,000 inhabitants and dense colonies 
of crows in its avenues of great trees. At Kalgan (Chang- 

' Son of an oil and colour merchant in Drury Lane, Alexander Wylie was in his 
thirty-first year when he was introduced to Dr Legge, in 1846, as a suitable man to 
take charge of the missionary printing establishment at Shanghai. He had long 
cherished the hope of going out to China, had bought Premare's Notitia Lingu<2 
Sinicce, learnt Latin in order to read it, and by means of the Society's Chinese 
New Testament compiled himself a Chinese dictionary, and acquired considerable 
proficiency in the language. 


kia-kow) he passed through the crumbling masses of the 
outer Great Wall, built in the days of Hannibal, and was 
the first Bibleman to enter the Desert of Gobi. "During 
the journey I gave away six Mongolian Testaments and 
several hundred Chinese Testaments ; " and at Kalgan he 
had news from a Russian merchant of the surviving converts 
of Swan and Stallybrass at Selenginsk. "The fruit of their 
labours still remains, and I cannot but hope that British 
Christians will re-establish missionary operations among 
them." Mr Wylie reached Pekin at the end of November, 
and after a hearty welcome from the corresponding com- 
mittee and the American missionaries, proceeded to Shanghai. 
Some mention must now be made of the other mission 
centres. In the south operations were suspended during 
the "Arrow" troubles, but corresponding committees had 
been formed, at Hong-Kong in 1855 and at Canton in 1856; 
a temporary field of distribution was found at Singapore 
and Malacca ; and when quiet was restored the missionaries 
and three or four native converts resumed their Bible tours. 
With so few to take part in the work, little could be 
attempted, but a power more than man's made good the 
dearth of human instruments. In Pok-lo, 100 miles north- 
east of Canton, a copy of the New Testament was placed 
in the hands of Ch'ea, the old guardian of the temple 
of Confucius. He read and believed the inspired page, 
resigned his guardianship, and taking with him the idols 
worshipped in his family for three generations, accompanied 
the colporteurs to Hong-Kong, where he was fully instructed 
and baptized by Dr Legge. Without prospects or means of 
support, he went back to his home and friends in Pok-lo. 
Bearing on his shoulders a board inscribed with awakening 
texts from the Scriptures, he passed from village to village, 
declaring the way of salvation. Thrice he returned to 
Hong-Kong with candidates for baptism, and in 1859 he 
was appointed catechist in connection with the London 


Missionary Society. Men, women, and children accepted 
his teaching, until there were one hundred and eighty 
professed Christians in Pok-lo ; four of the boldest refused 
to contribute to the idolatrous festivals, and Ch'ea himself 
lifted his hand against the public idols of his village and 
destroyed several of them. Out of respect for his age no 
one interfered, but resentment had been aroused, and it 
turned to fury when the standard of revolt was again raised 
and marauding bands appeared in the neighbourhood. The 
end came in 1861. On the 13th October Ch'ea was seized by 
armed men in a house which was being converted into a 
chapel, and carried off to an adjoining village. After two 
days of cruel torture he was taken down to the East River 
on the night of the i6th. He refused to renounce his 
Saviour, was cut down with the sword, and cast into the 
dark waters. But the old temple-guardian had not died in 
vain. By 1864 the storm of persecution had spent itself, 
and many were turning to the Christ whom he had pro- 
claimed. Similarly in Chonglok, in this same north-eastern 
region, the Spirit of Truth breathed over fourteen villages ; 
a little church was formed and passed through the fires of 
persecution ; and in 1865 two of the Basel missionaries 
settled among the people. 

From Amoy the Scriptures were scattered in the nearer 
islands ; large supplies were distributed in Formosa ; and 
crossing to the mainland, the colporteurs travelled far among 
the thickly-planted towns and teeming villages. In addition 
to the usual work at Fu-chau, the New Testament, issued in 
Portions, was completed in 1856 in the Colloquial of the 
district,^ a language which was spoken by 2,000,000 people ; 
while at Ningpo the expense of the Gospel of St Luke in 
Ningpo Colloquial for the use of the Blind was undertaken 
by the Society in 1859. The Colloquial of Ningpo was spoken 

^ The translator was Dr W. Welton of the Church Missionary Society. He 
died shortly after his return to England in 1858. 


by thirty or forty millions, and in 1865 the Committee printed 
an edition of the Gospels and Acts in Roman characters on 
the suggestion of Mr Hudson Taylor. 

Mr Wylie's plans were speedily put into operation. 
Four or five Chinese assistants were obtained from the 
mission stations,^ and Samuel Johnson, a young Englishman 
at Shanghai, became the first of the European colporteurs 
whose services had been so long desired. Free distribution 
was definitively abandoned, and once more an enlarged 
circulation and the awakening of a genuine spirit of inquiry 
justified the principle of sale. The missionaries were given 
complete freedom of action, and in the provinces north of 
Fo-kien the sale system was readily adopted, with the 
encouraging result that in four years no fewer than 200,000 
copies were thus circulated in three hundred walled cities 
and four times that number of towns and villages. In April 
1865 a meeting of European and American missionaries at 
Canton decided almost unanimously in favour of selling, 
but the practice of giving had prevailed so long in the 
south that it was well-nigh impossible to effect a change. 
In the district about Amoy gratuitous distribution was 
restricted to Portions of Scripture in 1871, but it was not 
till 1876 that it was wholly abandoned. 

An immense expansion bore testimony to the clear- 
sightedness, energy, and magnetic influence of the Society's 
agent. By the spring of 1868 the staff included twenty-six 
Chinese colporteurs and three Europeans, and in fifteen of 
the eighteen provinces of the empire the Word of Life had 
been distributed on many a perilous journey. In 1865 Mr 
Wylie ascended the West River into Kwangsi, was boarded 
by a gang of desperadoes in the reach of the Twelve Rocks, 
plundered at the point of the long knife, and finally escorted 

^ The number of Chinese converts at this date did not exceed 2500. In the whole 
of China there were not yet quite a hundred Protestant missionaries, and at Hankow 
alone had the Cross been planted really in the midst of the vast empire. 


homeward by Chinese gunboats. One of his companions 
in that adventure was John Mollmann, a young Russian 
whom he had met at Ningpo, and who became long after- 
wards the veteran of the agency. From Hankow in 1866, 
Mr Wylie went up the Han-Kiang into regions unknown 
to the European. Far north, at Fan-ching, crowded boats 
and clamorous throngs upon the bank were attracted by the 
Bible flag, and 2300 volumes were sold amid wild scenes which 
lasted till darkness fell. Still further north on these inland 
waters, he was invited to dine with a Chinese admiral, a frank, 
kind man, who had collected many European curiosities — 
clocks, revolvers, telescopes, photographs, — but nothing so 
unexpected as a picture of our Saviour blessing the bread and 
wine, with the inscription, "This is my body; this is my 
blood," in French, Italian, and English. "As he was not 
acquainted with the subject, I took occasion to point out to 
him the passage in John's Gospel in the Testament I had 
given him, and gave him a brief outline of the Gospel ; " 
and when they parted the foreigner was assured of a welcome 
the next time he passed that way. Leaving most of his 
people to return to Hankow, Mr Wylie crossed the un- 
traversed hill country to the Yellow River, and found at 
Kai-fong the last remnants of the Jewish community which 
had settled there some eight centuries before. Nothing 
remained of the ancient synagogue but an outer gateway 
and a single stone tablet which contained the name " Israel " 
and allusions to Old Testament history. A few months 
later, three of these Jews sought out Mr Edkins at Pekin. 
They desired to be instructed in the Christian religion, and 
they had brought with them a lad to be taught Hebrew, and 
three of their sheep-skin rolls, each containing a complete 
copy of the Pentateuch. 

In April 1868 Wylie and Griffith John set out on a 
memorable tour which was to take them through Cheng-tu, 
the capital of Sze-chuen, on to Singanfu, whither Alopun 


the Nestorian had preceded them with the Holy Scrip- 
tures twelve centuries before,^ and homeward down the 
Han River to Hankow. Threading the romantic gorges of 
wooded limestone and red and purple granite which the 
Yangtse has cut for 400 miles through the Mountains of the 
Seven Gates, they reached Chunking early in June, the first 
English Biblemen to enter Sze-chuen.^ "There had been 
many opportunities of doing good. Many cities, towns, 
and villages had been visited. Many books had been sold 
and many sermons preached." At Su-chau they turned 
northwards into the Min River, narrowly escaped destruction 
in the rapids under the chain-looped bluff of Taou-sze-kwan, 
sailed past the huge Buddha cut out of the solid cliff near 
Kea-ting, and reached Cheng-tu on the 23rd July. ' ' The 
finest city I have seen in China," thought Wylie ; but 
plague was raging ; people were dying at the rate of eighty 
a day ; and idol processions, to which the mandarins had 
sent their jewels and insignia, were moving in all directions 
in hope of staying the calamity. "In no other province, I 
believe, could we have gone about offering our books at such 
a time without molestation." The French consul gave them 
an introduction to the Roman Catholic bishop, but from him 
they received scant courtesy. Their New Testament was re- 
turned, with a single card in Chinese for the two " heretics." 
"I hardly expected to come back," wrote Griffith John.^ 
" My brightest hope was that God would permit me to see 

1 Vol. i. p. 29S. 

^ The French priests, however, had been before them ; the Roman Catholics 
were very numerous in the province, and Chunking was one of their strongholds. 
And in 1865 a strange perfervid being, W. Paul Bagley, an American evangelist who 
came from Japan, passed through Sze-chuen like the voice of one crying in the 
wilderness. Ignorant of the language, reckless of danger, indifferent to hardships, 
living on the proceeds of his sales, he distributed a large number of Scriptures in 
remote western cities, and at last made his way back to Hankow, barefoot, " in a 
most ragged and wretched state, suffering from disease, and in want of every necessary 
of life." Later, he appears for a moment, without scrip or purse, in Kwang-si. 
Stopped at Kweilin and ordered to return, his poverty occasioned a singular dis- 
tribution among the literati. To provide him with means the Governor bought a 
case of Scriptures, and these were afterwards divided among the Yamens of the 
province, and paid for by the mandarins. 

3 Wardlaw Thompson, Griffith John, p. 230. 


Cheng-tu, where, I thought, I could die in peace, knowing 
that my grave at that great and distant city would stimulate 
others to come, and occupy it in the name of the Lord." 
But they were graciously preserved through many dangers 
and chequered experiences to complete their journey of nearly 
3000 miles; and after distributing 15,000 copies of the 
Scriptures, they arrived at Hankow on the 3rd September. 

Ominous news awaited them. Accompanied by the 
trusty colporteur Wan Tai-ping, Mr Johnson had started 
in the preceding November on what he called "a long and 
last journey " across Ngan-hwei and Honan. They had 
reached Chingkiang on the Yangtse River, but beyond 
that point all trace of them had been lost. Many fruitless 
inquiries were made, but their fate remained a mystery until 
1886, when one of the men of the China Inland Mission 
anchored at a small town on the Cha. He discovered that 
nearly twenty years before another ' ' devil " had sold books 
there. A fire, attributed to the evil influence of the foreigner, 
had burned down a great part of the place, and at dead 
of night a band of men had murdered the strangers and 
destroyed their boat. 

These events were salient, but everywhere the daily 
routine of colportage and missionary travels was crowded 
with vivid incidents, beset by dangers, marked, by strange 
interpositions and unforeseen blessings. And on all sides 
a vital spirit was visibly operative. Pekin became a Bible 
centre for the Tartar tribes beyond the wall and the mixed 
population of Siberia. Russ and Mongol Scriptures were 
supplied to Bishop Viniami of Selenginsk, and Mr Swan 
had the happiness before he died of hearing of the intro- 
duction of his Bible into the Russian missions among the 
Buriatsand of communicating with his old disciple Shagdur.^ 

' From the records of 1835 let us preserve the trace of a letter which Mr Swan 
received from his convert Shagdur, son of Kemuah : " It pleased God to give me 
a little son ; and it has now pleased Him to remove the child from me. Every day 
I think that one member of my body has been taken to Heaven ; and this thought 

'884] NEW VERSIONS 445 

A few years later, when the Bishop was raised to the see 
of Kamstchatka, a new channel was found for the Manchu 
version. The Mandarin New Testament, translated by Dr 
Medhurst and the Rev. J. Stronach— the first of those 
"colloquial" versions which presented the Word of God 
in the common speech of vast masses of the people — had 
appeared in 1857 ; but it belonged to the Nankin or southern 
branch of the language, and a translation in the Pekin or 
northern vernacular, the work of a committee which included 
Mr Edkins and the Rev. S. Schereschewsky, afterwards 
Bishop in the American Episcopal Church, was published 
about 1870. A translation of St Matthew in Eastern 
Mongolian, prepared by these scholars with the help of a 
Lama, was printed in 1872. 

Several of the villages in the Tientsin district were the 
scene of a remarkable religious awakening in 1866 ; but the 
barbarous massacre of the French missionaries in 1870, and 
the sullen hostility shown against all foreigners, prevented 
Bible-work for several years. To a great extent Shanghai 
was left to the care of the missions, but in 1868, on the 
initiative of the Bishop of Victoria (Dr Alford), an Auxiliary 
was formed among the large English community in the 
busy sea-port. At Canton, where colportage was impeded 
by the decision against free distribution, the Scriptures 
were exposed for sale in shops and bookstalls, and in 1869 
there was less reluctance to purchase. Here, too, was felt 
the need of the Word in the speech of the people ; Punti, 
the Canton Colloquial, was spoken by 25,000,000; three 
Gospels had appeared, and St Luke and Colossians, portions 

is like a sweet savonr in my breast. . . . Now, when my little William was born, 
the neighbours came in, bearing gifts ; some gave one copeck [about one-tenth of a 
penny], some two ; in all, forty copecks. When the child died, I did not know what 
to do with this money ; but at length a thought came to me which gave joy to my 
heart ; and about this I write these few lines." Among the many words which went 
to make up the New Testament, the Saviour's name (" Tonilgakshi ") was, he said, 
often repeated, and although forty copecks might not suffice to pay for more than the 
dot over the "i" in the word Tonilgakshi, he begged that his little son's money 
might be accepted for that purpose. 


of a version undertaken by the English, German, and 
American missionaries, left the press in 1871. 

At Hong-Kong, where a large proportion of the Chinese 
Scriptures were printed, Bishop Alford was instrumental in 
founding an Auxiliary in 1868, and the funds raised were 
used for the expenditure on colporteurs, of whom fifteen 
or sixteen were employed by the corresponding committee. 
These did excellent work in Hong-Kong, the adjacent islands, 
and on the mainland, — "coming to us in the market-towns 
and villages," to use the words of an inflammatory placard, 
"drawing large crowds, and speaking to the educated as 
well as to the rustics, of one Jesus, saying He was of 
Shangti, the Only God."i Mr Lechler of the Basel Mission 
accompanied one of them into districts on the North River 
(Pe-kiang), and found there many families who still practised 
"the worship of the true God," taught them by Hung-Sew- 
tseuen in the early years of the Rebellion. There he founded 
two out-stations, and among those whom he baptized were 
an old man and his son, who had received baptism from 
the Taiping chief. At the request of the Basel missionaries 
the Committee added to their list the vernacular of the 
Hakkas ("Strangers"), a mediasval horde of nomads which 
parcelled the Punti territory many centuries ago ; ^ and in 
1865-66 Luke and Matthew, by Mr Lechler, were published 
in the Roman character, which was taught in all the German 
mission schools in the hope of superseding the Chinese. In 
1870 corresponding committees were formed at Amoy and 
Fu-chau, up to that time dependent on Hong-Kong. 

Mr Wylie's absence in England in 1869 revealed the 

^ This placard summarised in half a dozen lines the superstitious worldliness which 
everywhere in China made the preaching of the Cross foolishness : "The worship of 
the God of the barbarians would exclude all worship of ancestors as well as of our 
gods, and the efficacy of Geomancy would be brought to nothing. Would this be a 
way to riches and honour ? Would our progeny be increased thereby ? Woe, woe ! " 

* About the same time the Hoklos broke in from Fo-kien. The Puntis themselves 
were invaders. The Miau-Tsze, the aboriginal folk whom they dispossessed, survive 
now in the recesses of the mountains of Kwang-tung and Kwang-si. — Revue de 
Ciographie, 1890, July- August, 


extent to which the work depended on the influence of a 
master-spirit. He returned in the following autumn with 
two young men from St Chrischona ; flagging energies 
revived ; and for the next seven years the records of the 
agency became a swift and crowded "biograph" of new 
scenes, busy journeys, strange incidents. In the walled 
towns, in the open villages, among junk-men, at the great 
gatherings of students when the kueyhwa ^ flowered and the 
periodical examinations were held at each provincial capital, 
Mr Wylie and his three or four European assistants seemed 
to be ubiquitous. The Chinese colporteurs did wonders ; in 
drought and heat, in rain, snow, and intense cold, two of 
them sold 27,000 copies in a twelvemonth. Two others 
were beaten by the mob and stripped of all they had. Fresh 
ground was broken in the central provinces ; unknown 
regions were visited beyond the Wall. For a time the 
Fairy Powder scare — a wild rumour of a foreign conspiracy 
to poison the population — closed a great portion of the 
southern provinces. In Kwang-si, where the Biblemen 
were believed to be Taipings, and village after village was 
placarded with provocations on their arrival, the bitter 
memories of the Rebellion made colportage impossible. 
But the range of distribution was extended to Hainan and 
Lien-chau at the head of the Gulf of Tong-kin ; in spite of 
warnings and threats a considerable circulation was effected 
in the Portuguese colony at Macao, where the Italian clergy 
excluded even their French and Spanish confreres; and in 
the Amoy district it was the colporteurs who persuaded the 
people to burn their idols and join in Sunday worship, 
and so prepared the way for churches and mission stations. 
The missions themselves entered upon large developments, 
and the objects of the Society were furthered by the growing 
conviction that "the circumstances required the living voice 
and the written letter to be united as much as possible." 

' The Olea/ragrans, used to scent China tea. 


The formation of an inter-missionary board for con- 
serving the text of the Delegates ' version was committed to 
Mr Wylie, whose last undertaking in China was an edition of 
Dr Schereschewsky's Old Testament in Northern Mandarin, 
which the American Bible Society had placed at the disposal 
of the Committee. His eyesight failed under the strain of 
proof-reading, and in 1877 he returned home for relief. But 
medical skill was of little avail, and in 1878 he was compelled 
to resign the post which he had held with conspicuous ability 
for seventeen years. The Committee marked their apprecia- 
tion of his services by appointing him an Honorary Life 
Governor and making provision for his future comfort,^ and 
Mr Samuel Dyer,^ who had taken charge in the interval, 
was appointed his successor. 

At that time the northern provinces were swept by the 
appalling famine of 1877-79, which carried off 10,000,000 of 
the population. In south Shan-se it was told how in the 
first year folk ate grass, in the second earth, in the third 
their own kind ; and before the end wolves came down from 
the hills among the dying. Long afterwards, Biblemen 
in Kan-su passed over tracts of country fallen to wilder- 
ness, and came upon large towns silent and uninhabited. 
In the districts in which the missionaries administered the 
relief subscribed in Europe and America, the starving 
multitudes were moved by the efforts made on their behalf, 
and began to take account of a religion which taught 
men to feed the hungry and clothe the naked. The 

' He resided in Hampstead until his death. He had ceased in 1881 to do more 
than sign his name to his correspondence. After a severe attack of illness in February 
1883 the brilliant intellect too was darkened, and four years later, on the 6th February 
1887, he passed away very peacefully, and was laid in his father's grave in Highgate 
Cemetery. " One of the most remarkable men I have ever met, whether in China or 
out of China," wrote Dr Griffith John. "A better man I think I never knew," said 
Sir Thomas Wade. One of the master Sinologues of his time, his help was invaluable 
to Sir E. Tennent in his History of Ceylon, to Sir H. Yule in his edition of Marco Polo, 
and to Sir H. Howorth in his History of the Mongols. A volume of his Chinese 
Researches, with biographical sketch, was published at Shanghai in 1897. 

^ Mr Dyer, son of the L.M.S. missionary, the Rev. S. Dyer of Malacca, had been 
engaged in teaching in Australia, and arrived in Shanghai shortly before Mr Wylie 


colporteurs were welcomed, listened to with respect, pressed 
to remain and instruct them. There was a long list of towns 
and villages in which the Gospel was preached, and numbers 
desired to learn more of the new way of life. At Shih-chia- 
tang, in Shan-tung, two idol-temples were cleared and 
purified, and offered for school and meeting-house. After 
dark the costly idols of fine gilded clay were broken up 
and flung into a chasm left by the recent floods ; and in 
demolishing them the people discovered that even in the 
gods they had worshipped the idol-makers had defrauded 
them with pewter in place of the precious heart and lungs 
of silver. 

Beside this picture of hope and deliverance experience 
set another, of the sullen suspicion and superstitious dread 
of Christianity excited among the ignorant by the official 
class. In their hatred of the foreigner, they hesitated at no 
malign rumour of Christian sorcery that might scare the 
mob into brutal violence. While the idols were being 
smashed at Shih-chia-tang the following placard was being 
read at Shiu-fu in the remote west : — 

" The books that the foreigner is selling are printed with ink made of 
stupefying medicine. When any one reads them for a time, he becomes 
stupefied and loses his natural reason, and believes and follows the false 
doctrine. This is to warn the Chinese not to purchase or read them. Again, 
the foreigners use much money to bribe the poorer class of Chinese who have 
no means to depend on. They also use the stupefying medicine in all sorts 
of food, in order to win over the little children. At times, they use it for 
kidnapping children, whom they then sell to foreigners. Again, they use 
it to befool them, and then take away their marrow. The children im- 
mediately die. In former years there have been law cases about stupefying 
and kidnapping children at Tientsin and Shanghai. Wherever foreigners 
come, families ought to warn their children not to go out." 

Pigtails, it was believed, were cut off in the streets by in- 
visible hands in broad daylight; paper men were sent up 
into the air, assumed terrible aspects, and settled on people, 
who languished and died under their evil spell ; converts 
were drugged with the eyes of the dead, so that they might 

VOL. III. 2 F 


destroy the tablets of their ancestors. These mischievous 
calumnies were repeated from one end of the empire to the 
other, and the enmity of the people was as fiercely stirred 
against the Chinese assistants as against the foreigners 

Native colportage in such circumstances was too uncertain 
and too timorous to be of much use without European 
guidance and companionship, and Mr Mollmann was the 
only European in the service.^ In one or two centres 
distribution had practically ceased, in others there was 
serious question as to continuing the system, when happily 
an arrangement was made with the China Inland Mission 
for some of its men to combine colportage with their special 
evangelistic work. It was a curious coincidence that on 
the very day (19th September 1853) the Committee decided 
"to print with the least practicable delay 1,000,000 of the 
Chinese New Testament," J. Hudson Taylor, then a young 
man of one-and-twenty, sailed for China as a medical 
missionary. Four years later he resigned his connection 
with the Chinese Evangelisation Society, returned home in 
failing health in i86o, sent out the first pioneer of what 
became the Inland Mission, and in 1866 went back with a 
band of fifteen, who boldly carried the Gospel message into 
the heart of the empire. In September 1878, when this 
experiment was begun, the China Inland Mission occupied 
twelve of the eighteen provinces, including Sze-chuen, 
Shen-si, and Kan-su in the remote west, and the staff, 
like that of the Society itself, was interdenominational. 
So satisfactory were the results that more men were asked 
for than the Mission could spare, and a similar plan of 
co-operation was proposed to the other missionary societies. 

Unexpected provision was made for this departure. 
Indeed the work in China never lacked support. In 1868 

^ During a voyage undertaken for her health Mrs Mollmann died at sea, and 
after placing his little daughter in the care of friends in England, he returned to 
China in 1877 as his friend Mr Wylie left it. 


an offer of £1000 had been made by a Leeds merchant 
towards a fund for chartering a vessel on the great rivers 
of China. Now, in 1880, under the signature "God's Book 
is best," a benefactor unnamed presented ;^iooo to be used 
in careful and enterprising colportage. In 1881 the work 
done seemed to him to resemble so closely "Our Lord's 
walks in Galilee," that he gave ;^i5oo more. In 1883 
;^2000 was sent as a thank-offering for what had been 
attempted ; and yet again, at the beginning of 1884 a second 
;^2000, under the signature " Man's best gift to Chinamen," 
brought this special colportage fund up to ;^65oo. 

Two European colporteurs joined Mr MoUmann in 1881 ; 
a third in 1882. In the autumn of that year it was decided 
to divide China into three independent agencies, with a 
European head-colporteur to direct the Chinese staff in each 
province. Mr Dyer was appointed to the Central Agency, 
and in January 1884 the Rev. Evan Bryant of the London 
Missionary Society, who had served at Hankow and Tientsin, 
left England to take charge of the six northern provinces. 
Between 1880 and 1884 the Chinese staff had increased from 
44 to 61. When the period closed there were engaged in the 
Society's work 2 agents and 1 1 European head-colporteurs, 
4 Inland missionaries (with 4 Chinese colporteurs), 9 local 
committees^ (26 colporteurs), and 8 missionaries super- 
intendent^ (15 colporteurs). In all but three of the eighteen 
provinces of the vast empire — Kwang-si, Yunnan, and 
Hunan — provision had been made for the regular dis- 
tribution of the Scriptures. The circulation by colportage 
in 1880-81 was 63,360 copies; in 1883-84 it had risen to 
163,120, almost wholly by sale at one third the cost of 
production. In addition, 63,000 copies, issued in other 
ways, brought the total of the year up to 227,000. Thus 

' At Pekin, Shanghai, Hankow and Wuchang, Hang-chau, Fuchau, Amoy, 
Swatow, Hong-Kong, and Canton. 

^ At Mukden, Taku-t'an, Ningpo, Shaohing, Kin-chau, Tai-chau, Kin-wha, and 
the Isle of Hainan. 


was the Word of Life scattered over twenty-two degrees of 
latitude, from Hainan in the tropics to Mukden the ancient 
four-square capital of the Manchus. 

For Bible-work had extended into Manchuria. In 1873 

Ross and Maclntyre of the United Presbyterian Mission 

settled at Newchwang, and had been liberally supplied with 

the Scriptures by Mr Wylie. Early in 1879 Mr Dyer visited 

the missionaries, and later in the year Messrs Pigott and 

Cameron of the China Inland Mission set out on the first 

great colportage journey in Manchuria — from Tientsin to 

Newchwang ; from Newchwang down through blinding 

snowstorms, which held them weather-bound two nights and 

a day among the drifts of the moorland, to the extreme south 

of the Liaotung peninsula ; thence along the eastern coast 

to the Korean Gate, where they sold at a winter fair, and 

crossed the Yalu to the fishers sinking their nets through 

holes in the ice, but refrained from touching the forbidden 

soil of Chosen ; ^ onward to Mukden, and thence home 

through Newchwang and Pekin : sales, between 16,000 and 

17,000 copies. In 1881 Mr Maclntyre had obtained a native 

colporteur, and Mollmann hoped to reach Kirin, but was 

withheld by the timidity of the Mandarin, who withdrew 

the passport he had granted. Beyond the eastern palisade 

lay the mysterious land of ginseng and gold dust. Up to 

1881 the "hermit people" of Korea had suffered no stranger 

to approach, but the Scriptures had found entrance, and the 

Word of God was being translated into their own tongue. 

The story of Korea, however, must be reserved for the 

concluding period of our history. 

In these years of more widely ranging activity Mr Dyer 
visited the island of Formosa to arrange for Bible-work, 
and Mr Paton, one of the head-colporteurs, sold 19,400 
volumes in a two-months' journey from Tamsui to Taiwan. 

1 Ch'ao Hsien, "Morning Calm"; "Korea" comes from the Japanese name 


Mr Jeremiassen, a Danish medical volunteer, devoted himself 
to Hainan, where his skill and the sacred books were both 
welcomed. Men of the China Inland Mission made pros- 
perous journeys in the highlands of Yunnan, "the cloudy 
region of the south." In Kan-su, where many races, lan- 
guages, and creeds met and mingled, the Inland missionary 
reached in one district a town of Tibetan priests and gorgeous 
temples, found in another a tribe on the Yellow River — Lasas, 
— peculiar in dress, Mohammedan in faith, and familiar with 
Arabic and Persian. Among the Mohammedans in the 
province, the mullahs and "old heads of the place" crowded 
with rapture round his Arabic Bible : " We had heard of it, 
but never saw it till we met you." "Jesus," said one, "was 
greater than all others." "There is something about Jesus," 
said a second ; " He is the Lord's life-breath (ruacK)" 

In Kan-su, in Shen-si, in Shan-se, many were the traces 
of former work, evidences of the vitality and the strange 
migrations of books. " I have seen this before," said a man, 
as he took up a Portion ; " it tells of dead men rising again." 
A mountaineer, from his home a hundred miles away, 
related how he had come to know of Christ through one of 
the Gospels, and how twenty others met at times to worship 
God with him. The Chinese, said Mr Wylie, rarely destroy 
a book, even when they cannot read or do not care to read 
it. A copy of Morrison's New Testament in eight volumes, 
printed in 1813, was found in the possession of a shopkeeper 
in Pekin in 1867. "Thousands and thousands of Scriptures 
and books about the Gospel are lying in the houses of the 
people of the land ; little read, less understood, but ready to 
do God's work, when He shall bid it." 

As we pass from these outlines of strenuous evangelism 
what scenes and incidents rise within the mind's eye ! 
Here, beside the Grand Canal, is a poor old Buddhist 
priest, haggard and wild of aspect, whose head has been 
bound for many years with an iron band. The colporteur. 


with kindly greeting, gives a book which will lead him to 
One whose head was crowned with thorns. Seven little 
boys, with shaven heads and pigtails, buy books in the 
morning. In the evening the colporteurs come upon four 
of them, on a hill, reading from the books to a grey-headed 
man. He is their teacher. When the little fellows stop 
at a character they do not know, he looks through his 
spectacles and tells them. Our men sit down and read of 
the death of Christ, in the 27th chapter of Matthew, and 
speak about the Gospel. The old teacher bids the children 
read these books daily, and says that the merit of Jesus 
was great. Here, on the way to Kai-fung, is a murderer 
going by in chains. He listens eagerly to the message of 
salvation, and his guards pay a few cash that he may have 
a Gospel. Near the Mission Hospital at Swatow a boat 
has been moored for nearly three weeks, with two families 
living on board ; and morning and evening they have 
attended divine worship, so as to become better acquainted 
with Christian doctrine and practice. They were brought 
thither by a few leaves of St Matthew which an old boat- 
man had found floating in the harbour. Far inland from 
Amoy, as the colporteurs descend the River of the Seventy 
Rapids, one tells the boatmen the sorrowful story of the 
death of the Lord. Among the passengers a very quiet 
simple-minded man, who has listened intently, asks them 
to repeat what they have said. They comply, and as they 
speak of the crucifixion, they see the tears streaming down 
his face, and at last he breaks into loud sobbing. The 
story, they think, must have brought back painful recol- 
lections in his own history, for he knows nothing of the 
Scriptures, and has never heard of the life and death of 
the Saviour. When he has grown calm they question him. 
No, he replies, . they have awakened no memory of sad 
experiences ; but that One so good. One who had come to 
save men, should suffer so cruelly at the hands of those He 


came to save has pierced his very heart ; how shall he refrain 
from weeping? 

The progress of translation was necessarily less con- 
spicuous. In Punti the second Gospel and the Acts were 
published in 1872. Matthew and John were finished in 1873, 
and the intractable Pauline Epistles were in hand, when 
the work was suspended, owing to many doubts as to the 
wisdom of Colloquial versions. The matter was decided 
by the increasing demand for the translation, and in 1881 
the Four Gospels and Acts were put to press. In 1876 a 
Punti version of the Psalter by the Rev. A. B. Hutchinson 
was issued by the Hong-Kong committee, though they 
too were in general unfavourable to Colloquial forms ; and 
in 1884 another rendering of the Psalms, by Dr Graves, 
was published at Canton by the American Bible Society. 

St Mark and the Acts appeared in the Hakka tongue 
in 1874. A volume containing St John, Romans, and the 
First and Second Corinthians, the work of the Rev. Kong 
Fatlin, a native missionary educated at Basel, left the press 
in 1879. The four Epistles, Galatians to Colossians, by 
the same translator, were issued in 1881 ; and the Rev. 
C. P. Piton of the Basel Mission finished the rest of the 
New Testament in 1883. 

In the Swatow Colloquial the Gospel of St Luke was 
printed in Roman characters under the editorship of the 
Rev. William Duffus in Glasgow in 1877. 

In the Amoy Colloquial the New Testament and Psalms 
were published at the expense of friends in 1873. In 1879 ' 
the Society undertook an edition of the Old Testament 
prepared by a committee of the three missions working in 
Amoy ; the books were issued in Portions as printed, and 
the work was completed at the beginning of 1884.^ 

A committee was formed in 1883 for the revision of the 

^ The difficulties caused by gratuitous distribution in the Amoy district were 
eventually overcome. In 1876 the amount realised by sales was $2 ; in 1879 it was 
$76 ; in 1883 as many as 34,500 copies were sold, 

456 THE AGENCIES IN CHINA [1854-1884] 

New Testament in Ningpo Colloquial, and in 1880 the Rev. 
W. Muirhead, with the sanction of the Society, began the 
translation of Old Testament Portions in the Shanghai 
vernacular. As the period closed yet another project was 
in train for presenting the sacred text in the simplest literary 
form ; but the account of the Easy Wenli version belongs 
to a later time. 

The total distribution of the Chinese Scriptures from 1814 
to 1884 was estimated at 3,047,000 copies. The expenditure 
of the Society during the thirty years to 1883-84 amounted 
to ;^78,253, of which ;^52, 368 was provided by the Million 
Testament Fund. The receipts came to ;^6986. From 
1865 the Committee granted between 11,000 and 12,000 
volumes (;^i296) in fifteen European and several Eastern 
languages, chiefly for the benefit of English and foreign 
seamen in Chinese ports. 

Far beyond the empire itself, the circulation of the 

Chinese Scriptures extended to the multitudes which had 

streamed abroad in almost furtive silence since the days of 

the great "gold-rushes." At the anniversary meeting in 

1882 Mr Swanson of Amoy pictured their startling ubiquity. 

In the Straits of Malacca they had turned the jungle into a 

garden. They exceeded 200,000 in the Malay Archipelago. 

There were 100,000 in the Philippines. He found them 

in thousands and tens of thousands in New South Wales, 

Victoria, South Australia, New Zealand. They had settled 

in the Fiji and Samoan groups and the Sandwich Islands. 

They were as numerous in the State of San Francisco as 

in the Philippines. He prayed the Society to double its 

past labours ; for this stream of population, passing out 

of the East into almost every part of the habitable globe, 

carried with it not only the native energy and industry 

of the Chinese people, but the idolatry and unspeakable 

corruption of Chinese heathenism, 



" It was the mountains of Japan that first welcomed in 
Asia the rays of the first Easter morning." Yet, in God's 
mysterious dispensation, fifteen centuries passed away before 
the Japanese heard the tidings of the empty sepulchre which 
that sunrise revealed in the garden on Golgotha. 

Across the Eastern Sea to Kiu-shiu the great gales of 
1542 drove the notorious sea-rover Mendez Pinto, who had 
recently plundered the tombs of seventeen Chinese kings in 
an island off Che-Kiang ; ^ and the same stress of weather 
carried three other Portuguese to the coast of Satsuma, 
where they settled as traders. These were the earliest comers 
of "the barbarians of the South." Two years later, Alfonso 
Vaz, a Portuguese merchant, reached Japan, and by a strange 
linking of events his sojourn led to the mission of Francis 
Xavier. For, about that time, Anjero, a person of some 
rank in Kagoshima, had slain a man in the heat of passion, 
and fled for refuge from the avengers of blood to a monastery 
of bonzes. There his life was safe, but he could find no peace 
for his troubled conscience. He had formed the acquaintance 
of some of the Portuguese, and to one of them, Alfonso Vaz, 
he opened his heart. The merchant offered him all the help 

' In 1551 we find Pinto a startling figure in the suite of the Jesuit mission. He 
accompanied Francis Xavier on his visits to the Daimios of Kiu-shiu, returned with 
him on his perilous voyage to San-shan, where the saint died on the 2nd December 
1552, and in 1556 arrived in Japan for the third time as ambassador from "the 
Viceroy of the Indies." 


in his power, and arranged for his leaving Japan secretly 
with Alvarez, a great friend of Xavier's. When the travellers 
reached Malacca they learned that the missionary was absent 
among the Spice Islands. Anjero waited until his patience 
failed, and then embarked for his own country. Twice he 
was blown back by storms to the Chinese coast, and there 
he fell in again with Alfonso Vaz, who prevailed on him 
to return to Malacca. At length Xavier and he met ; the 
penitent found the rest he sought, was baptized, and took 
the name of Paul of the Holy Faith. 

It was the cry of that forlorn and sin-burdened soul which 
sent "the Apostle of the Indies" to Japan ; and on the 15th 
August 1549, accompanied by two of his colleagues and his 
convert Paul, the friend and disciple of Loyola landed at 
Kagoshima. Within a couple of decades the adherents of 
Christianity were numbered by the hundred thousand. Many 
of the great barons accepted the doctrine of Rome ; and for 
the masses of the people the ritual and pageantry of their 
old faiths were not so much changed as infused with a new 
significance and quickened with a fresh life and fervour. 
"The images of Buddha, with a slight application of the 
chisel, served for images of Christ ; and the roadside shrines 
of Kuwanon, the goddess of mercy, became centres of 
Mariolatry." But long before the century closed, the spirit 
of the Inquisition had begun to claim its victims. Buddhist 
monasteries were destroyed and bonzes put to death ; and 
the political intrigues of the Jesuits had excited an angry 
apprehension that the spread of Christianity was an insidious 
preparation for the subjection of the country to some foreign 
power. In 1588, and again in 1593, when six Franciscans 
and three Jesuits were martyred at Nagasaki, the mission- 
aries received unmistakable warnings of their danger. The 
storm burst in all its fury in 1614, under lye-yasu the founder 
of the fourth and last dynasty of Sho-guns, and during three- 
and-twenty years the provinces of the empire were reddened 


with Christian blood. Heaven and the Four Seas had been 
called to obey the edict which was to leave " the wicked sect " 
not an inch of Japanese soil whereon to plant their feet, and 
in 1637 the ruthless persecution culminated in the tragedy 
of Shimabara, when 30,000 Christians who had revolted 
were massacred, burned at the stake, crucified, scalded to 
death in the boiling sulphur wells of Onsen, hurled from 
the rock of Takaboko-shima into the waters of Nagasaki 

From that day Japan was a closed realm, which it was 
death to the foreigner to enter or the native to leave.^ For 
more than two hundred years the name of Jesus was held 
in execration ; Christianity was associated with sorcery, 
sedition, political conspiracy, the corruption of society and 
the betrayal of the State ; children were taught to trample 
on the cross as the symbol of a hateful superstition ; and 
in every village in the country the public notice-boards 
proclaimed the rewards offered for the delation of priests, 
catechists, and converts.^ As late as 1868 the bitter detesta- 
tion of the Gospel found expression in the blasphemous 
edict which confronted the European wherever he was 
permitted to land : — 

"So long as the sun shall warm the earth, let no Christian be so bold as 
to come to Japan ; and let all know that the King of Spain himself, or the 
Christian's God, or the Great God of all, if he violate this command, shall 
pay for it with his head." 

The security of that long seclusion was abruptly termin- 
ated on the 8th July 1853, when four warships, bearing 

' In 1640 the Portuguese envoy, commissioned to negotiate for the resumption of 
trade, was executed at Nagasaki with sixty of his suite, his ships were burned, and 
thirteen survivors were sent back to Macao. For Gutzlaft's unsuccessful attempt to 
restore three shipwrecked Japanese to their country in 1837, see vol ii. p. 394. 

^ Every trace of Christian literature appears to have been destroyed. Anjero is 
said to have translated the Gospel of St Matthew for Xavier, and probably those 
portions of the Old and New Testaments used in the liturgy were accessible in 
Japanese. Even a version of the New Testament, according to Neumann {Ost- 
asiatiche Geschichte, p. 330), must have been printed by the Jesuits at Miako (Kioto) 
before 1613. In any case, the Scriptures had never been all in all to the Japanese 
Christians as they were long afterwards to the Malagasy. 


proposals for a treaty of amity and commerce from the 
President of the United States, dropped anchor off Uraga 
at the entrance of the Bay of Yeddo. Temporising was 
useless, resistance impossible, and in the following year 
the treaty, which opened two of the Japanese ports, was 
signed by the Sho-gun. The claims of other nations to 
the same concessions were urged with a similar display of 
power, and in the Report for 1855 we find that the eyes of 
the Committee were already turned in eager expectation to 
these mysterious islands on the verge of the sunrise. In 
August 1858 Lord Elgin secured the Treaty of Yeddo ; early 
in 1859 the first Protestant missionaries, the Rev. J. Liggins 
of the American Protestant Church, and his colleague the 
Rev. C. M. Williams, afterwards Bishop, took up their 
station at Nagasaki ; Bishop Smith of Victoria passed over 
from Hong-Kong in the following year, gathered the 
materials for his fresh and vivid Ten Weeks in Japan, and 
in May 1861 riveted the interest of the anniversary meeting 
in Exeter Hall with the impressions of his journey.^ 

A Japanese embassy, making a tour of the western 
nations, arrived in London in the summer of 1862, and 
three copies of the Chinese Bible, together with an address 
from the Committee, were offered for their acceptance. 
Before they left England, however, the books were sent 
back with a polite acknowledgment and an explanation 
that any other course might involve them in difficulties on 
their return home. Meanwhile, every opportunity had been 
used to spread the sacred volume in the new field. The 
Chinese version had been introduced, and a tentative edition 
of Dr Bettelheim's Luchu Gospel of St Luke, column for 
column with the Chinese text, had been prepared at the 

' One singular detail may here be given from his address. He learnt that in 
Yeddo the Japanese Government maintained the descendants of about a hundred 
families who had abjured Christianity, and whose lives had been spared on condition 
that they preserved from father to son the tradition of Roman Catholicism, so that at 
any time they might be available as a court of inquisitors for the detection of the 
execrated religion. 

i884] THE PIONEERS 461 

instance of the Committee ; but in the course of the year 
clear and accurate information as to the condition of the 
country was received from one of the American missionaries. 
The Daimios, or feudal princes, were in a state of political 
excitement which threatened to end in revolution and civil 
war. In the jealous temper of the Government distribution 
was both impolitic and dangerous. The movements of 
foreigners were restricted to within twenty-five miles of 
the Treaty Ports. There were no Japanese who could be 
employed as colporteurs, and in any case Bettelheim's 
Gospel did not commend itself as a suitable version, and 
the Chinese Scriptures, which had been circulated to a 
small extent, were unintelligible except to the well-educated. 
In the midst of these difficulties no time was lost in 
mastering the language and entering on the labours of 
translation. Among the pioneers of this arduous enter- 
prise were Dr J. C. Hepburn of the American Presbyterian 
Mission ; Bishop Williams, Dr G. F. Verbeck, the Rev. 
J. A. Ballagh, and Dr S. R. Brown of the Dutch Reformed 
Church in America ; and the Rev. Jonathan Goble of the 
American Free Baptist Missionary Society. Goble had 
first seen the wrinkled sea-green hills of Japan from the 
deck of one of the United States warships in 1853. He had 
joined the expedition that he might ascertain for himself the 
chances of mission-work ; had been sent out again, ordained, 
in 1859 ; and had undertaken a version of St Matthew, which 
in 1871 attained the distinction of being the first Japanese 
Portion produced in Japan since the seventeenth century.^ 
The whole of Mr Ballagh's translations perished in the fire 
which ravaged Yokohama in November 1866, and in another 

1 Goble was subsequently employed for some time by the American Bible Society. 
A man of extraordinary resource and ingenuity, he is generally conceded to have 
invented the jin-riki-sha ("man-power-carriage," or "Pull-man-car" as it has been 
translated), which he contrived for the convenience of his invalid wife ; constructed 
and drove, while selling Bibles, " the first if not the only cart drawn by horse over the 
Hakone Pass" ; and taught most of the shoemakers in Yokohama their trade in the 
late sixties. Died in the States in 1898. — Tokio Missionary Conference, p. 687. 


outbreak in the following April Dr Brown lost his revised 
manuscripts of Luke and John and his rough draft of 
Genesis. But these disasters were met by redoubled 
exertions ; and encouragements were not wanting. At 
Nagasaki, where Dr Verbeck had distributed a considerable 
number of Chinese Scriptures, religious books, and tracts, 
four Buddhist priests had gone to him to find out from 
the Bible itself what Christianity really was, and "some 
even in high places," he reported, had been led to the 
Saviour by means of the Chinese version. 

Under that vague allusion was concealed a strange story 
of the inscrutable workings of the Divine Spirit. As far 
back as 1854, while English statesmen were pressing their 
claims to commercial intercourse with Japan, a midshipman 
on board H.M.S. Baracoota dropped his Testament over- 
board. The vessel lay in the shadow of the green hills 
around the Gulf of Nagasaki, perhaps even within view of 
the island-rock from which the martyrs had been hurled in 
the great persecution. The book sank, but it was landed in 
the nets of a fisherman, who took it to Wakasa Murata of 
Saga, commander of the Japanese troops guarding the port. 
Wakasa ascertained that the volume had been translated 
into Chinese ; a copy was obtained from Shanghai, and the 
reading of it convinced himself, his brother Ayabe, and a 
near relative named Molino that its pages contained the 
word of eternal life. With extreme caution they communi- 
cated at intervals with Dr Verbeck, who explained their 
difficulties and satisfied all their inquiries ; and at last, on 
Whitsunday 1866, the three nobles were baptized by Bishop 
Williams. In after years both Wakasa's daughter and 
Ayabe's embraced Christianity. The nurse of the former 
also received baptism, and returning to Saga opened a 
Sunday school, and brought many to the knowledge of the 

The Restoration of the Mikado in 1868 inaugurated a new 


epoch in the history of Japan. 1 The Daimios consolidated 
the forces of the empire by the resignation of their princely 
territories, and occupation was provided for their vassals 
and retainers, the two-sworded Samurai, in the Government 
offices and national banks. The assimilation of the science 
and civilisation of the West had begun ; and though no 
change was made in the penal enactments against "the evil 
sect," they were held in abeyance by the growing spirit of 
toleration, and the perception of the vast difference between 
the methods of "Bible Christians" and those of Roman 
Catholicism contributed in some measure to a less indis- 
criminate antagonism towards Christianity. 

Eighteen seventy-two was a year of unusual interest. 
On the loth March the first Japanese Christian congrega- 
tion — one of the smallest of congregations ; nine young men 
baptized that very day, and two native teachers — was openly 
organised at Yokohama, and took the name of the Church 
of Christ ; Dr Hepburn issued his version of St Mark and 
St John ; a Bible depot was opened in one of the principal 
thoroughfares of Kobe ; and in September a convention 
of missionaries met at Yokohama, appointed a translation 
committee, which consisted of Dr S. R. Brown, Dr Hepburn, 
and the Rev. D. C. Greene of the American Board Mission, 

'The "Restoration" of the Mikado is unique in history. The founder of the 
Mikado dynasty, the most ancient in the world, was Jimmu Tenno, who reigned in 
the days when Manasseh reared up altars for Baal and worshipped all the host of 
heaven. The theory of his divine descent from the Sun-goddess reduced his 
successors, in the twelfth century, to a. splendid but helpless seclusion, in which, 
while the Mikado was venerated as the only sovereign, his power was wielded on his 
behalf by the ShA-gun (War-commander), the most powerful of his Daimios or feudal 
barons. Three dynasties of Sh6-guns maintained this imperial fiction down to the 
beginning of the seventeenth century. In 1603, the year in which James I. succeeded 
Elizabeth, lye-yasu founded the fourth, that of the great house of Tokugawa. The 
recklessness or presumption of the Shd-gun in signing the treaty with the United 
States without the sanction of the Mikado and in subscribing himself "Tai-kun" 
(Great Ruler) was impeached by his enemies as high treason, and involved Japan in 
the strife and bloodshed of the next few years. Keiki, the last of the Sh6-guns, who 
succeeded in 1866, resigned his power to the young Emperor Mutsu Hito in November 
1867, but the jealousies of the princely houses precipitated a short but fierce civil war 
before the Restoration was complete. In the summer of 1868 the name of Yeddo, 
with its distasteful associations of the Shogunate, was changed to Tokio; and, 
abandoning Kioto, the sacred city of nine centuries of divine government by proxy, 
the Mikado took possession in person of his "Eastern Capital." 


and directed that proposals for joint action should be trans- 
mitted to the great Bible Societies of Britain and America. 
At home the Committee were doing what they could to 
further the same object. In the closing years of his life at 
Chicago Dr Bettelheim had revised with native help his 
Luchu translation of the Four Gospels and the Acts, and 
had bequeathed his manuscript to the Society, with a gift 
of $400 towards the expense of printing. The Gospel of St 
John was still passing through the press at Vienna when the 
distinguished Iwakura embassy arrived in London. The 
Governor of Tokio visited the Bible House, and accepted 
with marked gratification a copy of the Chinese Bible and 
an English Reference Bible which he had expressed a 
desire to purchase. Unfortunately there was nothing in 
Japanese to offer him, but a few weeks later, while the 
embassy was still in Paris, the Bettelheim Gospel was 
finished, and in an interview with Iwakura himself M. 
Monod presented his Excellency with a copy. The 
ambassador — one of the foremost men in Japan, both in 
intellect and influence — seemed delighted as he turned over 
the leaves of the book, remarked that it was very easy to 
read, and asked whether the Society had nothing else in the 
same language. A more deliberate opinion of the text was 
pronounced by one of the attaches — a young Japanese whose 
story is too beautiful to omit, — and these commendations 
decided the Committee to proceed with St Luke and the Acts. 
In the woody uplands some hundred miles along the 
Road of the Central Mountains, Osaki Niisima was born in 
1844. As a youth he was sent to college at Yeddo to study 
the higher Chinese classics, and there, at the age of eighteen, 
he came across a book in Chinese which opened with the 
marvellous words: "In the beginning God created the 
heaven and the earth." Again and again he read them, for 
they contained an answer to all his strange dreams and 
questionings of life and living things, the light of setting 


suns, and the round ocean and the living air and the blue 
sky. Among the mountains there were many shrines sacred 
to the spirits which dwelt within the rocks ; through all ages 
ascetics had "acquired merit" by ascending to the highest 
peaks. Amid the snow on the top of Dandokusen, Shitta 
Tai-shi had found the aged Rishi Arara ; on the summit of 
Omine, Sho-kaku had found the body which had been his 
own in an earlier state of existence ; but no one had ever 
found the God who made heaven and earth. Thenceforth it 
was his constant thought how he might find Him. The 
book which contained those marvellous words was a primer 
of geography compiled by an American missionary. He 
inquired and read about America. It was far away, and 
even to attempt to leave Japan would expose him to the 
penalty of death ; but to find the God who made heaven and 
earth he was ready to risk all, to forsake all ; and after the 
custom of his people, he wrote down the prayer which was 
working in his heart: "O Thou unknown God, if Thou 
hast eyes, look upon me ; if Thou hast ears, hear me, and 
lead me to Thyself." In 1864 he persuaded a sea-captain 
at Hakodate to help him to escape. From Shanghai he 
worked his passage to Boston, where, after he had suffered 
ten weeks of hardship and sorrow, he was succoured by one 
who had found the God he sought. The owner of the vessel, 
the Hon. Alpheus Hardy, heard of his adventures, sent for 
him, afterwards adopted him and provided for his education 
at Amherst College and Andover Theological Seminary. 
Niisima was still pursuing his theological studies when the 
Iwakura embassy visited the United States and demanded 
his services as an interpreter. The young outlaw received 
a free pardon, and accompanied the great ambassador during 
his tour in Europe. Returning to Boston, he was ordained 
in September 1874. At a crowded meeting of the American 
Board, at which he said farewell, he poured out his heart in 
a passionate appeal for his country: "Upon this platform 
VOL. III. 2 G 


I stand until you give me the money to erect a college in 
which I may teach my poor fellow-countrymen of God — 
the God of love, the Living God, for whom their souls are 
crying out." He ceased speaking, and in the solemn hush 
of the large audience stood waiting in silence. Then the 
Hon. Peter Parker of Washington rose and promised $1000, 
and in a few minutes subscriptions amounting to $5000 
secured the foundation of the famous Christian academy, 
the Doshisha, at Kioto. 

By the time Niisima landed on his native shores the 
anti-Christian edicts had been formally withdrawn ; Christian 
professors were teaching in Government schools and colleges ; 
and although any attempt at general colportage was still 
deprecated as premature and injudicious, a Bibleman was dis- 
tributing the Scriptures among the shipping at Yokohama, 
and several converts had opened shops for the sale of Christian 
literature. The first steps had also been taken to carry out 
the version scheme of the missionary convention. 

We shall now attempt to give a brief outline of the 
outstanding events connected with the translation of the 
Scriptures into Japanese. 

In 1873 Goble's work was taken up by the translator of 
the Assamese New Testament, Dr Nathan Brown of the 
American Baptist Union ; the Four Gospels and other 
Portions appeared at intervals in the next five years ; and 
in August 1879 the printing of the first Japanese New 
Testament was completed. 

In 1874 the Delegates' Translation Committee at 
Yokohama invited the co-operation of R. S. Maclay of the 
American Episcopal Church, Dr Nathan Brown, John Piper 
of the Church Missionary Society, and W. B. Wright of 
the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. St Luke was 
issued in 1875 ; Romans, Hebrews, and a revised text of 
St Matthew were published in 1876, and other sections 
followed. In 1876, however, Dr Nathan Brown resigned; 


and as distance and other engagements prevented the attend- 
ance of Messrs Piper, Wright, and Maclay, the Translation 
Committee was reduced to the three American missionaries 
who were its original members. Still its representative 
character was unchanged, and extreme dissatisfaction was 
felt when the American Bible Society, which maintained two 
of these members, assumed exclusive right to the use of the 
versions made by the committee. In time these differences 
were adjusted, and fresh developments prepared the way for 
combined action on the part of the three great Bible Societies. 
In October 1876, on the initiative of the correspondents 
of the London Committee, an important meeting of mission- 
aries was held at Tokio, at which four of their number, 
appointed as an auxiliary to the Delegates' Translation Com- 
mittee, were commissioned to translate the Old Testament. 
In the following year eleven chapters of Genesis and several 
books of the Minor Prophets (the work of Mr Piper) were 
published at the expense of the British and Scottish Bible 
Societies ; and the Psalms, Isaiah, and other books were in 
hand when, in May 1878, another convention of mission- 
aries assembled in the Eastern Capital. Earlier arrange- 
ments were superseded by the appointment of Hepburn, 
S. R. Brown, Maclay, Greene, and Piper as a Permanent 
Revision Committee nominated by the delegates of the 
various missions ; and the position was clearly defined in 
a resolution which declared the translations put forth by 
the Permanent Committee to be the common property of 
all Protestant missionaries, and authorised the three Bible 
Societies to print and circulate such editions of these texts 
as they considered desirable. 

The revision of the New Testament was finished on the 
30th March 1880 ; the first edition was printed for the 
American Bible Society at Yokohama on the 17th April, 
and on the 19th an enthusiastic meeting, attended by 
representatives of fourteen missionary societies and of all 


the Protestant Japanese congregations in Tokio, assembled in 
the Shinsakaya Bashi church to celebrate the happy event.^ 

Meanwhile progress was being made with the Old 
Testament, and early in 1881 the three Bible Societies 
issued Jonah, Haggai, and Malachi, translated by Mr Piper, 
and Joshua, translated by the Rev. P. K. Fyson of the 
Church Missionary Society (in 1896 Bishop of Hokkaido). 
But the method, adopted at the outset, of apportioning the 
work among sub-committees in the large towns proved 
unsatisfactory, and after correspondence between the Bible 
Societies with a view to joint expenditure, the completion 
of the Old Testament version under the supervision of the 
Permanent Committee was, in 1882, committed to Dr Verbeck, 
Dr Hepburn, and Mr Fyson.^ The accomplishment of their 
task belongs, however, to the last period of our history, and 
we now turn to the share which the Society took in the 
work of distribution. 

During the summer of 1875 Mr Wylie, the agent for 
China, visited Nagasaki, Kobe, Osaka, Yokohama, and 
Tokio, on a tour of inquiry. He met the various resident 
missionaries, and was cordially received by the Translation 
Committee, who expressed their desire to facilitate in every 
way the co-operation of the British and Foreign Bible 
Society. As the result of his representations the English 
missionaries in Tokio formed a Corresponding Committee, 
and a few months later direct communication with the Bible 
House was established. Arrangements were made for the 
printing of the Delegates' versions, and a supply of English 
Scriptures was granted for the benefit of the Japanese who 
had begun to turn their attention to our language. In 
addition to the Bettelheim Luchu Gospels, nearly 3000 copies 

^ The Society published a reference edition in the same year. Other editions 
followed, in various characters to suit different classes of readers. One of the most 
notable was a Chino-Japanese diglot, published by Jujiya & Co., a Tokio house. The 
Parable of the Prodigal Son in raised type for the blind, on the system of Dr Faulds of 
the U. P. Church of Scotland Mission, was also issued. 

^ The services of Dr Verbeck and Mr Fyson were specially engaged. Dr Hepburn 
had been a volunteer helper from the beginning. 


of the Old and New Testaments in Chinese were sent over 
from Shanghai, and these were extensively used in the 
schools and otherwise readily purchased at a higher price 
than they would command in China. 

In the course of a second trip in the autumn of 1876 
Mr Wylie had an opportunity of conferring with the agent of 
the Bible Society of Scotland, and of strengthening relations 
with the different missionary societies. The Corresponding 
Committee had despatched supplies of the Scriptures to the 
treaty ports and to brethren in the interior, had arranged 
with some of the native booksellers for the distribution of the 
Bible, and were considering the means of opening a depot. 
Their most important proceeding, however, was, as we have 
seen, the appointment of the Tokio Translation Auxiliary. 

In 1877 a depot was rented on the premises of a leading 
bookseller, and a signboard in English and Japanese pro- 
claiming the fact appeared in the Ginza, the main street of 
the capital. A considerable stock of the new Japanese 
Portions was purchased by the Corresponding Committee, 
and over 20,000 copies were placed at the disposal of the 
British missions. The days when colportage seemed too 
dangerously aggressive were drawing to a close. In 1878 
the Rev. H. Maundrell of the Church Missionary Society 
secured a person of excellent character as the Society's first 
colporteur, and in the following year three men were at work. 
Their sales were not large, but they had encountered no 
hostility, and the authorities had not interfered. A new 
day, with larger outlook and loftier purposes, had dawned 
on Japan. In the city of the Mikado, "at the Sign of 
the Cross " — that symbol which for four centuries had 
been publicly and periodically insulted and execrated — the 
Japanese publisher Jujiya, himself a Christian, was selling, 
unharmed and unquestioned, the Christian Scriptures which 
had issued from his own press. Stranger still ; no official 
interposed, no protesting voice was heard, when on the 


13th October 1880 — a few months after the completion of 

the "Standard" New Testament — a unique assemblage of 

Japanese and foreign Christians publicly testified to their 

faith in the Saviour of the world. The spacious rooms and 

gardens of a favourite resort on the border of the Uyeno Park 

were engaged for the day, and several thousands of people, 

including Buddhist priests and persons of the higher and 

official classes, were witness of this "good profession." On 

that very ground the last bloody battle of the Restoration 

had been fought. In full view rose the evidences of the 

beliefs of old Japan. "On a little island of the lake 

of Shinobazu stood the temple dedicated to the Goddess 

Benten ; towards the left might be seen the temple of the 

thousand-handed Goddess of Mercy ; within a stone's throw 

to the rear sat a bronze image of Buddha twenty feet high ; 

and in the midst of all these a large and orderly crowd stood 

attentively listening to the proclamation of the Gospel." 

Strangest of all ; in this same year contracts could be made 

with the Government press for the printing and binding of 

the Holy Scriptures. 

The need for an agent who should keep the Society's 

operations in line with those of the Scottish and American 

Societies had for some time been under consideration, and 

in November 1880 the Committee appointed the Rev. Isaac 

John Taylor, who had served the Church Missionary Society 

in Ceylon and Southern India. He sailed in January and, 

reaching Yokohama in March,^ took over the secretaryship 

and business management of the Corresponding Committee. 

Up to this point the British and Foreign Bible Society had 

had but slight opportunity to take a part in keeping with its 

■" A few days after his landing, King Kalakaua of Hawaii took part in celebrating 
the ninth anniversary of the founding of the native Church of Christ at Yokohama, 
and accepted from the native pastor a copy of the Japanese New Testament as "an 
exchange of love, not only between Hawaii and Japan as nations, but also as between 
the Christians of our country and yours. " Miraculous power of the Gospel ! Fifty- 
six years had not gone by since Kapiolani descended into the crater of Kilauea and 
ate the berries of Pele ; within the last dozen " the Great God of all " was still warned 
against landing in Japan at the peril of His head. 


great traditions. In 1881, when its own distribution did 
not reach 8000 copies, the circulation of the American Bible 
Society exceeded 68,000, and that of the Bible Society of 
Scotland, with its sixteen colporteurs, was over 26,000. 

With the growing knowledge of the Gospel the demand 
for the Old Testament became so urgent that various 
Portions of the Delegates' Chinese version were prepared 
in Kunten (Chinese marked with the Japanese diacritical 
points) by Robert Liiley, the Scottish agent, and Chimura, 
a native Christian ; and the separate books of the Penta- 
teuch and the Psalms were issued at intervals by the two 
British Societies. In 1882 twelve colporteurs were busy 
in the capital, at Numadzu, Osaka, Nagasaki, Kumanoto, 
and Kagoshima, the landing-place of Francis Xavier. 
Spiritually-minded and steadfast Biblemen were, however, 
hard to find, and the movements of foreigners were still 
embarrassed by the passport regulations. Nor had the 
danger of offending the susceptibilities of the people 
wholly passed away. While Mr Taylor was seeking for a 
house which might serve as a depot and C.M.S. station 
at Nagasaki, a Japanese who favoured the Christians was 
twice very hardly treated by the mob. A more liberal 
spirit prevailed in Tokio, where new premises had been 
obtained in the Ginza ; no resentment was shown when the 
depositary explained his inability to take part in the decora- 
tions for the great religious festivals. 

In 1883 the agents of the three Bible Societies agreed to 
divide among themselves the labour of carrying through the 
press the various books of the Old Testament as they left the 
hands of the translators. In April Mr Taylor attended the 
important Missionary Conference at Osaka, in connection 
with which a share of the offertory of the Church Mission 
congregation formed the first contribution to the Society's 
funds from Japan ; in June he had a friendly interview with 
Bishop Nicolai Kassatkin of the Greek Church, who asked 


him to supply with the Word of God four new congregations 
of converts in the north-west province of Nippon ; and in 
August he was in the midst of his work when the sudden 
and alarming illness of his wife compelled him to embark 
at once for England. As the doctors forebade her return, 
her husband's connection with the Society was reluctantly 

The affairs of the agency were again placed in charge of 
the Corresponding Committee, and with prompt generosity the 
Bible Society of Scotland arranged that all business details 
should be managed by their own agent, Mr J. A. Thomson. 
From 1875 to 1884 the circulation of the British and Foreign 
Bible Society amounted to 54, 164 copies of Scripture. The 
expenditure for 1880 was £^56?, and receipts came to ;^520. 

Who does not pause with wonderment as he concludes 
the outline of this introductory work? In 1853 these Isles of 
the Sunrise were an unknown, mysterious land "thrice three 
times walled " with fire and sword against Christianity. In 
1876 the old lunar holidays were abolished, and days coin- 
ciding with the Christian Sabbath took their place ; and in 
1883 the Church of Christ was represented by 18 Protestant 
missions at 37 stations, by 90 congregations with 4987 adult 
members, by 63 mission schools with 2500 scholars, and 
by 7 theological seminaries with 71 students, from which 
had already gone forth 49 ordained native pastors and 
100 assistant preachers and catechists. When the four- 
hundredth anniversary of Luther's birth came round in 
1883, it was not from Germany or England, but from the 
native churches of Osaka — while Europe still slept under 
the November stars — that the first hymn and prayer of 
gratitude rose to heaven on the morning of the loth for the 
gift of the free and open Bible. 

On that day of flags and chrysanthemums was founded 
the Union for daily Scripture-reading, known as Sei-sho-no 
Tomo, or "Friends of the Bible" — an idea brought over by 


a little girl who returned to Japan in 1882, and who had been 
a member of the Children's Scripture-reading Union of 
England. "Already there are signs of a mighty revolution 
beginning," wrote Mr Thomson as the period closed. 

" Old fears, superstitions, and heathen practices are being discarded. 
Rich and poor' are beginning to seek after God. Many fear that the 
crisis win be reached before we are ready. But we believe that Christ is 
with us, and we have courage to go on, looking to English Christians to 
strengthen our hands." 

■* In 1883, 70 per cent, of the adult population, including a good number of 
women, were able to read ; and the Sci-iptures were now stereotyped so cheaply that 
a New Testament cost a shilling and a Gospel little over a penny. 


Abyssinia, the Galla maiden— Christian 
Spittler, 266 ; laymen's mission — 
reception by King Theodore, 267-68 ; 
the "Apostles' Way," 268-69; 
Theodore's quarrel — fall of Magdala, 
269-70; dep6t at Massowa, 271 ; 
Bible - readers persecuted, 273-74 > 
lohannes II., 274-75 ! l^e King's 
"converts," 277 — see Shoa 

Acland, Sir T. Dyke, Vice-President, 65 

Adeney, Rev. G. J. , Hon. Life Governor, 

Africa, East, 282, 284 ; see Zanzibar, 

, North, supplies from Malta, 214; 

from Italy, 217; work in Algeria and 
Tunis — Arab revolt, 247-48 ; agency 
formed — local committee, 249-50 ; 
Morocco — Mr W. Mackintosh agent, 
250-51 ; Tripoli, 248 

African prefixes, 282K 

Albania, Dr Thomson's tour, 223 ; Mr 
A, Davidson sub-agent, 224 ; work, 
225-27 ; colporteur Sosnovski dis- 
appears, 232 ; Tosk-Greek Scriptures 
prohibited, 232 

Alexander II., Czar, Scriptures pre- 
sented, III, 343, 347; assassination, 

353 , . ^, . 

Alford, Bishop, 12 ; work m Chma, 445- 


American Bible Society, 76 ; jubilee, 
77-78, 251-52 

Amirkhanjanz, Rev. A., 356; sub- 
agent Tiflis, 362 

Anglesea Auxiliary, 44 

Anjero of Kagoshima, meeting with 
Xavier, 457-58 ; reported translation 
of Scriptures, 4S9» 

Apocrypha, the, 81, 86, 156, 200-1 

" Apostles' Way, the," 268-69 

Arabia, colportage from Bombay, 406 

Arctic Expedition, Austrian, 193 

Aristias, Prof., Rouman version, 214, 

Arthington, Mr R., 210, 403^, 407, 431 

Athanasius Matthew, Mar, encourages 

Bible-reading in Malabar, 417 
Atkinson, Mr Jasper, an old supporter, 

Austria- Hungary, the Concordat, 83 ; 
war with Italy, 89 ; concessions, 95 ; 
agency formed — depSts at Vienna, 
Pesth, etc. , 96 ; after Sadowa, loi ; 
social condition, 188; press laws — 
licences, 189-90; priestly opposition, 
192 ; increased restrictions — larger 
sales, 208-9 ; issues — expenditure, 210 
Bohemia, Huss quincentenary re- 
vival, 195 ; Scriptures in schools 
— sales to soldiers stopped, 196 
Carinthia, Carniola, Croatia, 
checks — progress, 193-94, 200, 
203, 209 
Dabnatia, 193 

Galicia, Jews — showmen, 197, 209 
Hungary, free licences — Romish 

opposition — scepticism, 200-1 
Salzburg, 195 
Slavonia, 200, 203 
Styria, old hidden Bibles, 209 
Tyrol, priests — Zillerthal revisited — 
colporteur Rauch murdered, 194- 
95, 209 
Transylvania, opposition of United 
Greek Church — Apocrypha dififi- 
culty, 200-1 
Auxiliary system, the, II -21 
Azores, the, 185 

Bagley, W. Paul, American evangelist, 
430, 443« 

Baker, Rev. H., Malayalam version, 416 

Balascescu, Prof., Rouman version, 221 

Barclay, Bishop of Jerusalem, Vice- 
President, 259K 

Barker, Mr B., agent in Levant, 214 

Barrow-in-Furness, 39 

Bayswater Auxiliary, 44 

Beamish, Miss, France, 140 ; Algiers, 
249; Holy Land pilgrims, 258 

Belfast Address, Tyndall's, 9 




Beige, SocUti Evangilique, 286, 291 

Belgium, opposition — colportage — 
Belgian societies, 285-87 ; death of 
John Kirkpatrick — William agent, 
288 ; scepticism — credulity, 288-89 i 
old Reformation churches — visitors 
from England, 290-92 ; Luxemburg, 
290, 293 ; Franco-German war, 293 ; 
condition of Belgium, 294-95 ; notable 
colporteurs, 296 ; distribution — ex- 
penditure, 297 

Benevolent Fund, 62 

Bergne, Rev. S. B., Secretary, 4, 29; 
tour in Palestine and Egypt, 215-16 

Berlin Agency, 81 ; issues, 83, 85, 99 ; 
Dr Simon agent, 96 ; total distribution, 

Bettelheim, Dr, Luchu version, 460, 464 
Bible, the " HohenzoUern," 84-85 
Bible in War, the, i8»— 
American war, 76-77 
Prusso-Danish, 100, 315 
Austro-Prussian, 100, loi 
French Expedition to Mexico, 106 
Franco-German, 103, 112 ; prepara- 
tion of German Agency, 113; 
German colporteurs, 114-17 ; sur- 
render of Sedan, 115; German 
"memorial Testaments," 117; 
colporteurs "decorated," 117K; 
French colporteurs, Ii8-ig; 
French "memorial Testaments" 
— total distribution and cost, 120 ; 
effects in Africa, 248 ; Belgium, 
293; Holland, 304 
Servo-Turkish, 204 
Russo Turkish, colporteurs — 
prisoners aided, 205-6 ; Messrs 
Sellar and Kantor honoured by 
Czar, 207 ; Syria, 257 ; Russia, 357 
Egypt, Arabi insurrection, 264, 406 
Abyssinian Expedition, 270, 406 
Bible House, the New, 2-5 ; dedication, 
7-8 ; building fund, 5-6, 45 

, the Old, farewell service, 6 

Bible Society, the, cheap Scriptures, 62- 
63 ; care for the people, 70, 72-73 {see 
Disasters) ; increased circulation, 22 ; 
receipts and outlay, 20-22 ; grants 
to schools and institutions, 17-18 ; 
periodicals, 60 ; spiritual influences, 
10, 18-20 
Biblewoman, the first, 14-16 
Biblewomen in the East, 425 
Binney, Rev. Dr T., 4, 7 
Birch, Rev. G. T. , District-secretary, 40, 

Bismarck, Prince, and colporteur, I49« 
Black, Rev. R., District-secretary, 51 

Blackheath Auxiliary, 44 
Blind, Scriptures for the — Switzerland, 
99; France, 108 ; Spain, 172; Syria, 
252-53 ; Egypt, 261 ; Holland, 300 ; 
Russia, 353 ; China, 440 

, gleaner, story of the, 70 

Bockett, Mr John, Treasurer, 3, 25 
Boinville, Rev. C. de. District-secretary, 

Bom, Mr Van der, E^ent in Holland, 8, 

298, 305 
Bonaparte, Prince Louis Lucien, gift of 

versions, 352« 
Borrow, George, death, 62 ; legacy from 

his step-daughter, 62» 
Bosnia, 207, 223, 228 
Bourne, Mr T. J., District-secretary, 37 
Bower, Rev. Dr H., Tamil version, 

Braithwaite, Mr J. Bevan, member of 

Committee, visits Odessa and Tiflis, 

Bristol Auxiliary, jubilee, 37 
Brodie, Rev. D., District-secretary, 47 
Brown, Mr J. J. , Assistant Secretary, 3 1 

, Dr Nathan, Japanese version, 466 

Browne, Rev. G. , Secretary, historian, 6 

Bruce, IDr J. CoUingwood, 12, 23 

, Rev. R. , Persian version, 358 ; 

agent in Persia, 359, 365-66 
, Mr T. H., 8, 90; agent in Italy, 

92-93, 130 
Bryant, Rev. E., agent in China, 451 
Buckley, Rev. Dr, Uriya version, 387 
Bulgaria, desire for Scriptures — National 

Church, 213 ; opposition of Greek 

ecclesiastics, 217 ; colportage, 218-20; 

progress — reaction, 233-34 
Bulgarian Evangelical Society, 220, 234 
Burma, missions supplied — "baptism" 

difficulty, 436-37 ; Bible and Tract 

Society — books for schools — grant for 

colportage 247-48 
Burn, Rev. A., Sindhi version, ,404-5 

Cambrian societies, 42, 56 

Campbell, Rev. C, Kanarese version, 

Canary Islands, 185 
Cape Verd Island, 185 
Carlisle, Bishop of (Dr Waldegrave), 4, 

"Carmen Sylva," Queen of Roumania, 

Caroline Amalie, Queen Dowager of 

Denmark, 313, 317 
Charles XV. of Sweden, jubilee of 

Swedish Bible Society, 334 
Charles of Bala, statue, 68» 



Chester Lead Works, 35 

Children, a blind gleaner, 70 ; associa- 
tions — contributions, 5-6, 44-45, 52 ; 
rescued by a colporteur, 204-5 ! ^^^ 
child missionary of St Erth, 71 ; Shag- 
dur's little son, 444-45« 

China, Million Testament scheme and 
fund, 434, 436 ; great names in the 
fifties, 435 ; sales introduced, 436 ; 
Treaty of Tientsin — missionary Bible 
tours, 437-39; work in the South — 
the martyr Ch'ea, 439-40; Amoy 
— Formosa, 440; free distribution 
stopped, 441 ; Alexander Wylie — 
colportage, 436, 441 ; journey with 
Griffith John — fate of colporteur 
Johnson, 442-44; Auxiliaries Shanghai 
and Hong-Kong — corresponding com- 
mittees, 445-46 ; Mr Wylie succeeded 
by Mr Dyer, 448 ; dread of Christian 
sorcery, 449 ; China Inland Mission, 
450 ; funds for China — European 
colporteurs — Rev. E. Bryant agent, 
451 ; Manchuria — Korea — Formosa — 
Hainan, 452-53 ; incidents, 453-54; 
distribution • — expenditure, 456 ; 
Chinese abroad, 456 

Christian IX. , King of Denmark, favours 
to the Society, 316, 317 

Christopher, Canon, Hon. Life-Governor, 

Christophorides, Constantine, Albanian 
versions, 224-25, 227 

Clark, Rev. R. , secretary Panjab 
Auxiliary, 359, 396, 401 

Cleopatra's Needle, Scriptures under, 61 

Close, IJean, 33, 69 

Cohen, Rev. J. I., District-secretary, 47 

Cole, Rev. F. T. , Santal version, 386 

Coles, Mr W., Vice-President, 68 

Cologne Agency, 80-8: ; issues, 83, 85, 
99 ; united to Frankfort, 95 ; total 
distribution, 155 

Colportage at home, cost, 13 ; notable 
men, 56-57 

Colporteurs abroad, disappearance of 
Sosnovski, 232 ; of Garuti, 160 ; fate 
of Mr Johnson, 442-44 ; murder of 
Karl Rauch, 195 

Continental tours, 53-54 

Coote, Mr A. C. P., District-secretary, 51 

Corfield, MrR., agent in Spain, 171, 179 

Corsica, 127, 142 

Cossons, Mr J. R., Norfolk Auxiliary, 53 

Cotton, Bishop, Vice-President, 380, 392 

Cotton Famine, Lancashire, 18-20 

Crete, 236 

Crowe, Sir J. Rice, hon. representative 
in Norway, 329 

Cunningham, Rev. J. W., Hon. Life 

Governor, 64 
Curie, Rev. J. G., agent Madrid, 169 
Cust, Mr R. Needham, member of 

Committee, Kabyle version, 250 
Cyprus, 237-39 

Damascus, the Great Mosque — text 

over portal, 256-57 
Dani9i9, D. G., Servian version, 98 
Darling, Grace, 54 
Davidson, Mr A., sub-agent Albania, 

224 ; Crete, 227, 236 
, Rev. G., District-secretary, 51, 


Davies, Rev. G. Palmer, agent in 
Germany, 7, 82, 153, 362 

Dawson, Rev. J., Gond version, 397 

Dehon, veteran French colporteur, 139 

Delitzsch, Prof. F., 151-52 

Denmark, Danish Bible Society, 312 ; 
Royal Orphan House and the Society 
— good offices of the King, 313-17 ; 
agency changes, 315; dep6ts — col- 
portage, 318 - 19 ; distribution — ex- 
penditure, 320 

Denninger, Rev. J., Nias version, 431 

Descent of Man, The, 9 

Disasters, earthquake in Ischia, 127 ; 
floods in France, 141 ; floods in 
Germany, 154-55; landslip in Switzer- 
land, 160 

District-secretaries, 1 1 -13 ; districts in 
1854, 32; a tragic year, 40; new 
methods, 46 ; number in fourth period, 


Donations and legacies, 21, 69-70 
Dorp, Isaac Van, old Dutch colporteur — 
the lighted window of Rotterdam, 
301-3, 304, 307 
Droese, Rev. E., Malto version, 388 
Dudley, Mr C. Stokes, chief of District- 
secretaries, 38 
Duff, Dr, 8 
Duffus, Rev. W., Swatow Colloquial, 

Dyer, Mr S., agent in China, 448, 451 
Dykes, Rev. J. O., 12 

Earl Street, farewell service, 6 
Eck, Mr A., agent for North Russia, 

341, 343 
Eckenstein, Mr A., agency correspondent, 

Edkins, Rev. J. , Chinese versions, 435 ; 

journeys, 438-39. 445 
Edmonds, Canon, 12, 30, 42, 48 
Edwards, Rev. Allen T., District-secre- 
tary, 43 



Edwards, Mr G. T., District-secretary, 
32, 39, 48 ; a retrospect, 53 ; notable 
places and people, 54 

Egypt, 215; Alexandria — Cairo, 216; 
co-operation with American societies, 
259-61 ; colportage — Suez Canal-— Nile, 
261 ; other workers, 262 ; the Arabi 
rising — claim for loss withdrawn, 263- 
64 ; agency founded — Rev. R. H. 
Weakley, 264-65 

EUicott, Bishop (Gloucester), accession 
to the Society, 8-9 

Elliot, Rev. R., I2» 

Eisner, Mr, Scriptures for Prussian 
Army, Si ; see Prussia 

England, mid - century changes, I, 9, 


Essays and Reviews, 10 

Eugenie, Empress, 106 ; the Kirkpatricks 
of Closeburn, 288; a strange con- 
juncture, 293 

Europe, Central — see Germany 

Evangeline, the, 55 

Exhibitions, Bible-work at — Amsterdam 
1869, 304 ; ditto 1883, 308 ; Brussels 
i88o, 395 ; Dusseldorf 1880, 156 ; 
London 1862, 59; Paris 1867, 110-12 ; 
ditto 1878, 136-37; Vienna 1873, 190; 
a Japanese inquirer, 191 ; Zurich 1883, 

Families, old Bible Society, 64, 66«, 

Farmer, Mr T., member of Committee, 


Faroe Islands, 320 

Fernley, Mr John, Southport, generous 
gifts, 48 

Finch, Mr Charles, Assistant Foreign 
Secretary, 28 

Fitzpatrick, Mr H., colportage director, 
Madras, 410 ; secretary to Madras 
Auxiliary, 411, 413 

Flad, Mr, missionary in Abyssinia, 266- 
67, 272, 274, 276-77 

Fleming, Canon, 12 

Fordham, Mr J. Hampden, member of 
Committee, 12 

Forster, Mr Josiah, member of Com- 
mittee, 6, 25, 65 

France, Bible Society of, I09_ 

France, colportage — distribution 1854-70 
— Protestant worship licensed, 104-5 > 
expedition to Mexico — Ultramontane 
opposition, 106-7 ; last days of the 
Empire, 107-8 ; Exhibition 1867 — 
presentation to Emperor, 110-12; 
Franco-German war, 103, 113-20 {see 
Bible in War); death of M, de 

Pressens6, 119; M. Monod agent, 
133 ; colportage on new lines, 133-36 ; 
Roman Catholic call for the Bible — 
anti-clerical reaction — unbelief among 
Protestants, 136-38; scenes of col- 
portage, 139-43; Bible and Tract 
depSt — M'AU Mission, 143 ; tours of 
District - secretaries, 143 ; Brittany, 
143 ; distribution — expenditure, 145 

Francis Joseph, Emperor of Austria, 191 ; 
Bible presented, 208 

Frankfort Agency, 79-80 ; issues, 83, 85 ; 
Switzerland attached, 84-87 ; Cologne 
united to Frankfort, 95 ; issues, 99 ; 
total distribution, 155 

Franklin relics, 58-59 

Frederick William IV. of Prussia, 80, 95 

Frederick, Crown Prince of Prussia, 1 1 1 

French and Foreign Bible Society, 109 

French, Bishop, in Persia, 367 ; patron 
of Panjab Auxiliary, 401 

Frere, Sir Bartle, 385K, 407 

Frost, Rev. R. , Secretary, 24 

Fyson, Rev. P. K., Japanese version, 

Galla Maiden, the, and Abyssinia, 

Gates, Mr Robert, Penrith Auxiliary, 54 

George, King of Greece, Bible presented, 

Germany, Dr Pinkerton agent for 
Central Europe, 79 ; agencies formed 
at Cologne, 80 : Berlin, 81 ; death 
of Pinkerton — Mr Palmer Davies, 82- 
83 ; Switzerland added to Frankfort 
Agency, 84, 87 ; Cologne joined to 
Frankfort, 95; Austrian Agency 
founded, 96 ; Auxiliaries at Stuttgart, 
Dresden, etc. — Sunday school move- 
ment, 98-99; Luther Memorial at 
Worms, 112; Franco - Prussian war 
113-20 (see Bible in War); Germany 
under one agent, 113; proposed 
National Bible Society, 146, 152; 
Old Catholics, 147, 150; incidents of 
colportage, 147 - 49 ; German Bible 
Societies, 150; the Wanderjahre, 151; 
jubilee of agency — retrospect, 153 ; 
death of Mr Palmer Davies — Mr J. 
Watt succeeds, 153; Bibles presented 
to royalties, 153-54; gifts to the 
Society — distribution and expenditure 
of the period, 155 — see Prussia 

Gibraltar, supplies to Spain, 162 ; gar- 
rison work, 163 ; first pubhc meeting, 

Gill, Rev. Dr, work among the young, 



Girdlestone, Canon, Editorial Superin- 
tendent, 12, 27 

Gloucester, Bishop of — see Ellicott 

Glyn, Rev. Carr J., 12, 39, 53, 168, 292 

Goble, Rev. Jonathan, Japanese version, 
461 ; invented the jin-riki-sha, 46l» 

Gogerly, Rev. D. J., Sinhali version, 421 

Golden Roses, 169, 172 

Gordon, Rev. G. Maxwell, heroic death 
at Kandahar, 406 

Graham, Rev. W. H., District-secretary, 

Graydon, Lieutenant, Switzerland, 79, 
86 ; Sardinia, 88 ; Sicily, 90 ; resigns, 

Greece, unfavourable prospect, 215 ; 
added to Turkish Agency, 217; Bible 
presented to King George, 239; 
"Hellenism" and Greek Church- 
united action with American Bible 
Society, 239-40 ; Dr Kalopothakes 
sub-agent — struggle for Modern Greek 
version and Scriptures in schools, 241- 
42; distribution, 242 

Griffiths, Rev. H. , District - secretary 
Wales, 49 

Gronberg, Rev. N. P., representative in 
Denmark, 313 

Gruet, Mile., Switzerland, 86, 160-61 

Guizot, M., Protestant Bible Society of 
Paris, 109 

Gundert, Rev. Hermann, Malayalam 
version, 416 

Hakfenden, Mr J., agent in Malaysia, 


Hall, Mr G., District-secretary, 40 

Hankey, Mr W. Alers, member of first 
Committee, 64 

Hardeland, Mr, Dyak version, 431 

Harrowby, Second Earl of, Vice-Presi- 
dent, 68 

Havelock, Sir Henry, 44 

Hay, Rev. John, Telugu version, 415-16 

Hedger, Mr, superintendent of col- 
portage Madras Auxiliary, 372, 409-10 

Henderson, Dr, death, 75 

Hepburn, Dr, Japanese version, 467-68 

Herdman, Rev. J. C, hon. secretary 
Calcutta Auxiliary, 370 

Hewlett, Rev. J. P., District-secretary, 
38, 39«, 42, 46-47, 60 

Heyde, Rev, A. W., Tibetan version, 

Hibernian Bible Society, 74 

Hill, Rev. J. H., District-secretary, 44 

, Rev. S. J., Mussulman-Bengali 

version, 380 

Hitchin, Mr W,, Accountant, 38 

Hoare, Mr Joseph, Treasurer, 25 
Hoernle, Rev. C. T., Urdu version, 396- 

Hollams Sons, Coward & Hawksley, 

hon. solicitors, 26 
Holland, condition of country, 298; 
"Bible school" movement, 299-301, 
306, 307 ; opposition in Limburg, 299- 
300 ; jubilee of Netherlands Bible 
Society, 300 ; the " lighted window of 
Rotterdam," 301-3, 304, 307 ; col- 
portage, 305, 307, 309 ; revival wave, 
305-6; death of Mr Van der Bom, 
305 ; resignation of Mr Reesse — Mr 
H. Grelinger succeeds, 308 ; the 
Society prepares to withdraw, 308; 
the "Jansenist" Church, 310; dis- 
tribution — expenditure, 311 
Hughes, Rev. T. P. , Pashtu version, 398 
Humbert, King of Italy, Bible presented, 

Hunt, Rev. R. G., District-secretary, 51 
Hutchinson, Rev. A. B., Punti Psalter, 

Hyacinthe, Pere, 108, 123 

I' Anson, Mr Edward, architect of new 

Bible House, 3 
Iceland, 321-22 

Ilminski, Professor, Kazan-Tartar trans- 
lation, 349 
India, outlook of Auxiliaries, 370-71 ; the 
Mutiny, 372-76 ; the Society's losses, 
373. 394. 396 ; good out of evil, 374 ; 
fresh supplies — the men who saved 
India, 375-76; Christian rule pro- 
claimed, 377 ; premature agency 
scheme, 381-82, 411 ; Dr Murdoch's 
school distribution plan, 382-83 ; 
Prince of Wales' tour — famine of 1876- 
78, 385 ; Dr Wilson's University pro- 
ject, 408; distribution — expenditure, 
India and Ceylon, 424 

Calcutta Auxiliary, during the 
Mutiny, 379; jubilee, 380; 
Colonel Lamb's tour, 381-82; 
Calcutta Bible Association ab- 
sorbed — Lieutenant-Colonel Rox- 
burgh's colportage fund, 383 ; 
sales versus gift — distribution to 
schools, 384; Bible House built, 
384-85 ; new versions, 386 - 91 ; 
colporteurs — call for special agent, 
391 ; distribution — expenditure, 
391 ; presidents and friends, 392 
North India Auxiliary, demand for 
Scriptures — colportage — new 
Bible House, 377-79 ; lines of 
progress, 393-97 ; call for special 



India — Continued 

agent — circulation — expenditure, 
Panjab Auxiliary, founded, 378; 
version work, 397-400; dep&ts — 
colportage, 401 ; Sindh added — 
distribution — expenditure, 402 
Bombay Auxiliary, method of work, 
402-3; quarterly prayer meeting, 
405 ; efforts in Arabia, Persia, 
406-7 ; effect of Bible-work, 407 ; 
issues — expenditure — request for 
an agent, 408 
Madras Auxiliary, gratis distribu- 
tion stopped, 409, 411 ; bold 
organisation— colportage, i,Qi')-\2. ; 
jubilee, 41 1 ; new dep8t — Rev. S. 
W. Organe secretary — work in 
schools, 412-13; Union Tamil 
version, 414-15; Syro-Chaldaic 
Christians, 417 ; rapid expansion 
— circulation — expenditure, 420 
Bangalore Branch, becomes Auxili- 
ary, 412, 418 ; distribution — ex- 
penditure, 419 
Ceylon, Colombo Auxiliary, 421 ; 
Kandy Auxiliary, 422 ; Jaffna 
union mission work, 422-24 
Indiscriminate distribution, evil of — Italy, 
125; France, 143; Syria, Palestine, 
256, 258 ; Belgium, 294 — see Sales 
Ireland, Hibernian Bible Society — Sunday 

School Association, 74-75 
Isabella of Spain, 169 
Isenberg, Rev. C. W., Sindhi version, 

Italy, obstacles — Piedmont — Sardinia, 
87-88 ; Bible work in Crimea — war with 
Austria, 89 ; dep6t in Florence- 
Garibaldi in Sicily, 90 ; the Bible sold 
in Naples — Papal States freed, 91 ; Mr 
T. H. Bruce appointed agent, 92; 
the " power of the keys " — colporteurs' 
trials, 93-94; Naples Bible Society^ 
Syllabus of Pius IX., 94; Venetia free, 
95, loi ; the CEcumenical Council 
— Papal Infallibility, 102-3 '< Italian 
army enters Rome — Bible-reading in 
Coliseum, 120; end of the "temporal 
power," 121; Cardinal Antonelli — 
Italian Bible Society founded, 122- 
23; Italy in the seventies, 123-27; 
first Bible Society meeting in Rome — 
first Protestant Church, 128-29; death 
of Mr Bruce— Rev. A. Meille, 130; 
the Propaganda supplied — religious 
condition of Italy, 131 ; total distribu- 
tion, 132 

Jackson, Rev. C, Secretary, 4, 24, 

Jacobleif, Mr, Chuvash translation, 349 
James, Rev. J. Angell, death, 64 
Jansenists, 3io» 

Janvier, Dr, Panjabi scholar, 398 
Japan — Francis Xavier — Christianity ex- 
terminated, 457 - 59 ; Treaty ports 
opened — first Protestant missions — 
noble converts, 460-62 ; first congrega- 
tion, 463 ; story of Niisima, 464-66 ; 
translations, . 466 - 68 ; Mr Wylie's 
visits — corresponding committee — 
first colporteurs, 468-69 ; remarkable 
Christian demonstration, 470 ; Rev. 
I. J. Taylor agent — combined action 
of societies, 470-71 ; distribution — 
expenditure — changes in thirty years, 

Jaschke, Rev. H. A., Tibetan version, 

Jenkins, Rev. John, Breton version, 144 
Jeremiassen, Dr, volunteer in Hainan, 

Jews, work among, Italy, 128 ; Germany, 

153; Galicia (Austria), 197; Poland, 

199 ; Hungary, 201 ; Crete, 236 ; 

North Africa, 244 ; Isle of Djerba, 

248 ; Abyssinia, 267, 269, 272 ; 

Turkestan, 354 ; beside the Tigris, 

367 ; China, 442 
Jin-riki-sha, invented by Rev. J. Goble, 

John, Griffith, 437, 442-44 
Johnson, Bishop, patron Calcutta 

Auxiliary, 392 
, Mr S., tragic death in China, 

Jones, Captain H. M., representative in 

Norway, 329 
, Mr T. of Caer-Groes, generous 

gifts, 69-70 
Jukes, Rev. W., Pashtu version, 398 

Kalopothakes, Dr, sub - agent in 
Greece, 215, 240-41 

Keasberry, Rev. B. P., work at Singa- 
pore, 429-3° 

Kelling, Rev. F. , Sangir version, 431-32 ; 
the eruption of Ruang, 432 

Kent, Rev. P., District-secretary, 40 

Kinnaird, Hon. A., 4 

Kirby, Mr T. J., sub-agent Malta and 
Alexandria, 245, 261, 263-65 

Kirkpatrick, Mr John, agent at Brussels, 

, Mr W. H., agent at Brussels, 288 

Kirkpatricks, of Closeburn, the, 288 ; a 
strange conjuncture, 293 



KnoUeke, Mr H., Assistant Foreign 
Secretary, 28 ; in Norway, 323-24 

Krapff, Johann Ludwig, the Abyssinian 
Expedition, 270 ; death, 276-77 ; his 
African project, 284 

Lamb, Colonel, Indian tour of inquiry, 

Lancashire, the Cotton Famine, 16, 18-20 
Lansdell, Rev. H., crosses Siberia, 350-51 
Lawrence, Sir John, 44 
Lechler, Rev. R. , Hakka Colloquial, 446 
Legacies and donations, 21, 69-70 
Leo XIII., Encyclical — religious liberty 

and Protestantism anathematised, 129 
Lewis, Rev. W. Dickens, District- 
secretary Wales, 41, 49 

, Rev. W., Khasi version, 389 

Lister, Ephraim, District - secretary 

Eissistant, 39 
Liverpool and Manchester Auxiliaries, 

jubilee, 36 
Livingstone, Dr, 282 
Loch, Hon. G., president Calcutta 

Auxiliary, 381 
London Auxiliaries, redivision, re- 
organisation, 43-46 ; Bayswater, 44 ; 

Blackheath, 44 ; London East, 44K ; 

Southwark, 44 ; Westminster, 43 
, growth of population, 43 ; shipping, 

45 ; birth and death rate, 47 

, rate of contribution, 44, 47 

, Lord Mayors and the Society — 

Warren Stormes Hale, 3 ; Sir B. 

Phillips, 5 
London, loss of the, 45K 
Longley, Archbishop of Canterbury, 59 
Lonnrot (compiler of the Kalevala), Russ- 

Lapp Gospel, 352 
Lowenthal, Isidore, Pashtu version, 396 
Lowndes, Rev. I., agent at Malta, 215 ; 

version work and death, 216 
Luther, Memorial at Worms, 1 12- 13; 

quatercentenary, 156 
" Luther's First Study of the Bible," 61 

Macbridk, Principal, Oxford, 65 
Macdonald, George, the poet and novelist, 

MacGregor, Mr John ("Rob Roy"), 12 

" Mackay of Uganda," 283 
Mackintosh, Mr W., agent in Morocco, 

Madagascar, Premier's son a Juvenile 

secretary, 52 
Madeira, 185 

Magazines, the Society's, 60 
Magnusson, Mr E., Icelandic version, 



Malaysia, 429 ; co-operation with Dutch 
and German missions, 431 ; the island 
tongues — Rev. F. Kelling, Sangir 
Islands, 431-32 ; Mr Haffenden agent, 

Malta, 214-15; decline— added to Italian 
Agency, 244-47 

Manchester and Liverpool Auxiliaries, 
jubilee, 36 ; new Bible House, 48 

Manning, Dr, survey of Society's work, 
22-23, 262 

Manningford Bruce, gala days, 49-50 

Marks, Dr, Royal Burmese scholars, 

Marlborough, Seventh Duke of, Vice- 
President, 69 

Marpingen "Apparitions," 150 

Mary Jones and her Bible, French 
translation, 134 ; Dutch, 309 

Mason, Dr F., Karen translation, 426-27 

Mather, Rev. R. Cotton, Urdu version, 

Mayer, Rev. T. J. Lee, Pashtu version, 


, Rev. W., Rouman version, 222 

Medhurst, Dr, missionary in China, 435 ; 

Mandarin version, 445 
Mee, Rev. John, Secretary, Dean of 

Grahamstown, 24 
Meille, Rev. A., agent in Italy, 130 
Meller, Rev. T. W., Editorial Super- 
intendent, 26-27 
Melius, Bishop, encourages colportage in 

Malabar, 417 
Melville, Mr, representative in Russia, 

341, 346 
Methuen, Rev. T. A., ii« 
Mexico, French expedition to, 106 
Middlesboro', 39 
Milan, Prince, Bible presented, 202 ; 

(King of Servia), 209 
Millard, Mr Edward, 7, 79, 81 ; Austrian 

Agency, 96 

, MrN. B.,79, 95 

Miller, Rev. J. D., District-secretary, 

Milman, Bishop, patron Calcutta 

Auxiliary, 392 
Mirrielees, Mr, agent in Russia, 340 
Mitchell, Rev. St J., representative in 

Norway, 329 
Mitchinson, Bishop, Vice-President, 12 
Mitylene, old superstitions — Pilo's work, 

Moffat, Dr, 12 
Mohn, Mr C. J., Bergen Sub-agency, 

Norway, 323, 331 
Mollmann, Mr, colporteur in China, 442, 


2 H 



Moltke, Count, 149 

Monod, M. Gustave, agent for France, 

Montalembert, the Ultramontanes, 106 
Montenegro, 226 
Moore, Mr George, Vice-President, 3, 

54. 67 
Morgan, Rev. D. Parker, District-secre- 
tary, 47 
Morris, Mr Henry, member of Committee, 

Morrison, Mr Michael A., agent in 

Russia, 357 
Mtesa, King of Uganda, Stanley's Bible — 

the name of Jesus saluted, 283 
Muir, Sir W., president Calcutta 

Auxiliary, 376, 379, 392 
Muirhead, Rev. W., secretary Shanghai, 

435-37 ; Shanghai colloquial version, 

Mullens, Rev. Dr, secretary Calcutta 

Auxiliary, 380-81 
Murdoch, Dr, 382, 384, 422 

Napoleon III., Bible presented, 111-12 ; 

surrender at Sedan, 115 
Nazarenes, 203 

Newcastle Auxiliary, jubilee, 33-34 
Nicolson, Rev. W., agent in Russia, 343 
Niisima, Osaki, story of his quest for 

God, 464-66 
Noel, Hon. and Rev. Baptist, 12, 66 
Nommensen, Re v. J. L. , Toba Testament, 


Norfolk Auxiliary, 52-53 

Norman, Sir H. Wylie, president 
Calcutta Auxiliary, 392 

Norway, sub-agencies visited, 323-24 ; 
colporteurs' journeys, 323-25, 326-27, 
331-32; revival in Tromso, 325; 
Mormons, 328 ; representatives — old 
friends, 329-30 ; views of Norwegian 
Bible Society, 330-31; issues — expendi- 
ture, 332 

Nottrott, Rev. C. A., Mundari version, 

Nyika, story of a Gospel, 28271 

Oldcastlb, Sir John, 15 

Olney Branch, revival after twenty years, 

Organe, Rev. S. W., secretary to Madras 

Auxiliary, 413 
Oriental Congress 1873, diploma and 

medal to the Society — 1874, visit 

to Bible House, 51 

Page, Rev. J. A., District-secretary, 5, 
32, 48, 51-52 

Palestine — see Syria 

Palmer, Rev. E. Reeves, agent in Spain, 

Palmerston, Lord, 59 

Paris, Protestant Bible Society of, 109 

Pashtu New Testament, a last copy, 395 

Paterson, Dr, 75 

Pauline Fatme and Abyssinia, 266 

Paull, Rev. W. Major, District-secretary, 

Payne, Rev. J. E., Mussulman-Bengali 
version, 390 

Pease, Mr Joseph, M.P., Vice-President, 

Peploe, Prebendary Webb, 12 

Period, summary of the Fourth, 20-23 

Perkins, Rev. Richard, District- secretary, 

Persia, mission work, 358 ; colportage 
from Bombay, 408 ; Mr Watt's tour — 
agency founded, 358-59 ; Baghdad 
dep6t — Rev. R. Bruce agent, 365-66 ; 
colportage — expenditure, 367-69 

Phillips, Rev. Dr, District - secretary 
Wales, 6, 40-42 

, Major Scott, District-secretary, 43 

Photinoff, Constantine, Bulgarian Scrip- 
tures, 219 

Pinkerton, Dr, 79, 82-83 

Piton, Rev. C. P., Hakka version, 


Pius IX., the Syllabus, 94-95; the Great 
Council — Infallibility proclaimed, 102- 
3 ; death — Bible progress, 129 

Plenge, Rev. J., agent in Denmark, 8, 

315. 319 

Poland, 79; attached to Austrian Agency, 
96-97 ; supplies for soldiers, colleges, 
198 ; condition of the Churches, 199 

Poor, gifts from the, 70 

Portugal, reaction against Ultra- 
montanism — agent appointed, 164 ; 
struggle for religious freedom — 
versions, 165 ; effects of colportage, 
166 ; priestly opposition, 167-68, l8o ; 
anti-Romanist press, stage, 181 ; civil 
reforms, 181-82 ; return of Jesuits — 
abuse of burial laws, 183-84, 186-87 ; 
expenditure — circulation, 185-86 

Powell, Rev. E. P., District-secretary, 49 

Pressens^, M. de, 7 ; Franco-German 
war, 118; death, 119 

Prim, General, gives the Bible free course 
in Spain, 169 ; assassinated, 174 

Prime Ministers and the Society, 59 

Propaganda, the, purchases the Society's 
Hebrew Bibles, 131 

Prussia, distribution to the Army, Mr 
Eisner, 81 ; Major Westphal, 154 

INDEX 483 

Radley, Mr John, member of Com- 
mittee, 65 

Railway stations, grants for, 18 

Raine, Rev. I., District-secretary, 49 

Ranyard, Mrs, 14, 17 

Rauch, colporteur, murdered, 195 

Rebmann, Johann, East Africa, 278-79 

Redcliffe, Lord Stratford de, 68 

Reden, Countess of, I94« 

Redslob, Rev. ¥. A., work in the 
Himalayas, 400 

Reed, Rev. C. E. B. , Secretary, 29 ; at 
Odessa and Tifliis, 363 

, Sir Charles, M. P. , 68 

Reess^, Mr H. T-. agent in Holland, 
305. 308 

Renan, Fie deJSsus, 108 

Revised Version, Society's rules, 62 

Rice, Rev. B., Kanarese version, 4i8« 

Richardson, Mr George, Newcastle, 33 

, Mr Henry, Newcastle, 34 

Ridley, Bishop, 55 

Robbins, Rev. G. , District-secretary, 40, 

Robertson, Rev. J. S. , president Bombay 
Auxiliary, 404^ 

Rohtlieb, Rev. J., Swedish agent, 332, 

" Rose" meetings, 49-50 

Roughton, Rev. F. H., agent at Lisbon, 

Roumania, 201, 213-14; rapid progress, 
221 ; transferred to Austrian Agency, 
222 — see 203 ; Bible to King Charles, 

Roxburgh, Lieut. -Col., colportage fund, 

Royal Family, the, presentations from 
the Society, 58 ; Duke of Edinburgh, 
347 ; Prince of Wales, 385 

Rildt, Baroness de, the "wandering" 
journeymen, 151 

Russia, relations with the Holy Synod, 
341, 348 ; concessions, 353 ; distribu- 
tion and expenditure in the agencies, 


North Russia, Mr Mirrielees resigns, 
340 ; Mr Eck, 341-43 ; Rev. W. 
Nicolson — north division — Siberia, 
345 ; Scriptures in schools, 348 ; 
north-east governments — Siberian 
exiles, 349-51 ; Finland — north- 
west governments, 351-52 ; Men- 
nonite exodus — Mr Sharp's visit 
— Sixpenny Russ Testament, 355 ; 
dep6ts — circulation, 355» 
South Russia, Mr Melville's journeys, 
341 ; Mr J. Watt assistant, 342 ; 
Mr Watt agent — extensive col- 

portage, 346 ; the Caucasus, 356 ; 
Russo-Turkish war — see Bible in 
War; Mr M. A. Morrison at 
Tiflis, 357 ; succeeds Mr Watt, 
362 ; visit of Mr J. B. Braithwaite 
and Mr Reed, 363 
Agency of the Caucasus, 359-61 ; 
work in Turkestan, 362-63 

Sailors' Society, British and Foreign, 

Sales versus free distribution, India, 382, 
384, 409, 411, 420, 424; China, 441, 

45 5« 
Sardinia, 88, 127 

Schauffleur, Dr, Osmanli version, 230-31 
Schereschewsky, Dr, Mandarin version, 

445. 448 
Schools, Society's grants to, 18 
Schreiber, Dr A., Mandailing translation, 

Scotland, National Bible Society, 75-76, 

Scott, Captain F. H., Dakhani Genesis, 

, Rev. J. C, hon. secretary Agra 

Auxiliary, 372-73 
Sdepan, Baron, Kurd Gospels, 2iz 
Seamen's Bible Society, Merchant, 45 
Sedan, surrender of Napoleon, curious 

coincidence, 115 
Sell, Rev. E., Dakhani version, 419 
Sellar, Mr W., depositary at Con- 
stantinople, 207 
Servia, opposition overcome — Scriptures 

in schools, 202-3 ; Servo-Turkish war, 

Shaftesbury, Earl of, 4, 7 ; at Carnarvon, 

56 ; death of Lady Shaftesbury and 

Lady Constance Ashley, 60 ; portrait by 

Millais, 61 ; birthday, 62 ; the Emperor 

of the French, III-I2 
Sharp, Rev. John, Secretary — descent 

from old Bible worthies, 30 ; visit to 

Russia, 355 
Sheshadri, Dr Narrayen, 30, 355 
Shirt, Rev. G. , Sindhi version, 405 
Shoa, King Menelik distributes — Roman 

Catholic Bishop friendly, 271, 274 — see 

Sicily, 127 

Simon, Dr, Berlin Agency, 8, 96, 113 
Singapore, Rev. B. P. Keasberry — 

Auxiliary formed, 429 - 30 ; agent 

appointed, 432 — see Malaysia 
Smythies, Bishop, Zanzibar, 281 
Solicitors, hon., to the Society, 25-26 
Sosnovski, colporteur, disappears, 232 
Southwark Auxiliary, 44 



Spain, glimpse of freedom, 162; " Pro- 
testant propagandists " imprisoned, 
163 ; Queen Isabella, 168-69 ! Prim in 
power — Mr Curie agent, 169 ; Million 
Gospel fund — Mr Corfield agent — new 
schools, 170-74; law of "public mani- 
festations" — Protestant funerals legal- 
ised, 175-77; colportage, 177-79; Mr 
Corfield's death, 179; distribution — 
expenditure, 180 

Spaulding, Dr, Tamil version— -Jaffna 
Auxiliary, 423-24 

Speke, discovery of the Victoria Nyanza, 

Spencer, Rev. W., District-secretary, 37, 


Spittler, Christian Frederic, philan- 
thropist, 266-69 

St Giles's Fields, 14 

St Gothard Tunnel, work among Italian 
labourers, 159 

Stanley, Dean, 4, 347 

Steere, Bishop, 278-81 

Steinkopff, Dr, 64 

Stewart, Rev. R., agent in Portugal, 181 

Stoughton, Dr J., Vice-President, 12 

Stowell, Canon, 12, 65 

Stratton,Mr J.,Hon. Life Governor, 49-50 

Stritar, Prof., Sloven version, 210 

Stronach, Rev. J., Mandarin version, 445 

Suffolk, East, jubilee, 38 

Sumner, Archbishop, 64 

, Bishop, 67 

Sunday schools — Germany, 98«, 154; 
Austria, 191 ; Hungary, 209 

Swallow, Mr C, District-secretary, 32, 

Swan, Rev. W., 75, 444 

Sweden, co-operation of the people, 337 ; 
jubilee of Swedish Bible Society — 
patronage of royal house, 334 ; large 
circulation — death of Dr Rohtlieb, 
336 ; Rev. R. H. Weakley agent, 336 ; 
withdrawal of the Society, 337-39 

Switzerland, 79, 84 ; Lieut. Graydon — 
Mile. Gruet, 86 ; transfer to Frankfort 
Agency, 87 ; colportage, 98 ; religious 
troubles — the Swiss societies, 157-58; 
jubilee of Lausanne Bible Society, 1 60 ; 
disappearance of a colporteur, 161 

Symons, Rev. Jelinger E., District-secre- 
tary, 52 

Syria and Palestine, official visits, 215 ; 
Druse and Turk massacres, 216 ; 
British Syrian schools, 252-53 ; Kes- 
rouan — the coast — Damascus, 253-56 ; 
the sale question, 257 ; work among 
pilgrims, 257 - 58 ; Bethlehem — 
Nazareth, 259 

Tait, Archbishop, 7, 68, 415 
Taylor, Rev. I. J., agent in Japan, 470, 

, J. Hudson, China Inland Mission, 

Theophilus, Rev. A., director of col- 
portage, Madras, 411, 413 
Thomas, Rev. J., District-secretary, 51 
Thompson, Hon. A. Rivers, president 

Calcutta Auxiliary, 392 
Thomson, Archbishop, 4, 59 

, Rev. A., agent in Turkey, 216 

, Rev. F. D. , District-secretary, 49 

Thornton, Mr John, second Treasurer, 24 
Thorold, Rev. A., 16 
Tibet, 398-400 

Tiddy, Rev. W. P. , District-secretary, 43; 
visits Portugal, 1 65 ; visits Belgium, 
Tindale Monument, Nibley Knoll, 59-60 
Tours, Continental, 53, 143-44 
Trevelyan, Sir C. , 4 
Turkestan, Bible-work, 354-55. 3^2-63 
Turkey (in Europe), Charter of Rights — 
range of agency, 212 ; scarcity of men 
— mission help, 213; death of Mr 
Barker, 214 ; Rev. A. Thomson agent, 
216 ; Turkish bad faith, 217-18; work 
with other societies — Turkish atroci- 
ties, 220 ; Thessaly, 226-27 ; col- 
portage round Constantinople — new 
Bible House — the Auxiliary, 228-29 ; 
Government imprint on Scriptures, 

231 ; Russo-Turkish war — see Bible 
in War; brigandage— work checked, 

232 ; more official difficulties, 234-35 
(in Asia), persecution, 213 ; Smyrna 

— west coast — islands, 235-37 ; Black 
Sea provinces, 237-38 ; distribution — 
expenditure in agency, 242-43 
Tynewydd pit disaster, 72-73 

Uganda, Stanley's Bible — C. M.S. 

Mission — -Mtesa's salute — Alexander 

Mackay, 283-84 
UUmann, Rev. J. F., Urdu version, 375 

Van Dyck, Dr, Arabic version, 215, 

Van Dorp — see Dorp 
Venn, Rev. John, Hon. Life Governor, 12 

, Rev. Henry, C.M.S. secretary, 66 

family, 66» 

Ventura, the guitar-maker, 186 
Verbeck, Dr, Japanese version, 462, 468 
Versions : European — 

Albanian (Gheg, Tosk), 224-25 (Tosk- 
Greek), 232 

Basque (French), 144 



Versions — Continued 

Breton, 144-45 

Bulgarian, 219 

Chuvash, 349 

Danish, 316 

Dutch, 299 

Flemish, 296-97 

French (Segond), 144, (Ostervald, 
Martin, De Sacy), 296 

German (Van Ess), 83, (Luther), 157, 
(Platt-Deutsch), 151 

Hungarian (Karoli), 210 

Icelandic, 321 

Italian (Diodati), 128 

Judseo-Polish, 199 

Ladin (Oberland), 159 

Lapp (Swedish), 337, (Russian), 352 

Lithuanian, 355 

Liv, 352 

Maltese, 245 

Osmanli, 218, 229-32 

Perm, 352 

Polish (Wuyk), 199, (Dantzic), 210 

Portuguese (Almeida, Figueiredo), 165, 

Proven5al, 144 

Rouman, 214, 221-22 

Roumansch (Lower), 158, (Upper), 159 

Russ, 348, 363 

Ruthen, 198 

Samogit, 98 

Servian, 98, 202 

Sloven, 193, 210 

Syrjen, 353 

Wend, 210 

Wotjak (Votjak), 353 
, Asiatic — 

Arabic (Van Dyck), 78, 215, 251-52 

Ararat-Armenian, 357, 363 

Armeno-Turkish, 230 

Azerbijani, 357, 363 

Batta (Toba, Mandailing), 431 

Dyak, 431 

Georgian, 357 

Hebrew (Delitzsch), 151-52 

Kalmuk, 353 

Karen, 426-28 

Kurd, 212 

Malay (Keasberiy), 429-30. (Low 
Malay), 430 

Mongolian, 444-4S 

Nias, 431 

Persian, 366 

Sangir, 432 


Tartar (Kazan), 349, (Kirghiz), 352 

Wogul (Vogul), 35 1 
, Indian — 

Assami, 389 

Versions — Continued 

Bengali, 380, 389-90 

Chamba, 400 

Dakhani, 419 

Gond, 397 

Gujarati, 403-4 

Hindi, 394 

Kanarese, 417-18 

Kashmiri, 398 

Khasi, 26, 388-9 

Koi, 419 

Lepcha, 388 

Malayalam, 416 

Malto, 388 

Marathi, 404 

Marwari, 405 

Mundari, 386-87 

Mussulman-Bengali, 390 

Nepah, 388 

Panjabi, 396, 398 

Pashtu, 395-96. 398 

Sanskrit, 390-91 

SantaU, 386 

Sindhi, 404-5 

Sinhali, 420-21 

Tamil, 414-IS. 4^3 

Telugu, 415-16 

Tibetan, 398-400 

Urdu, 396-97 

Uriya, 387 
, Chinese — 

Amoy Colloquial, 455 

Canton Colloquial (Punti), 445, 455 

Fuchau Colloquial, 440 

Hakka Colloquial, 446, 455 

High WenU, 435, 448 

Mandarin Colloquial (Nankin, Pekin), 

Ningpo Colloquial, 440-41, 456 
Shanghai Colloquial, 456 
,ya/a««j«, 466-68 ; Chinese (Kunten), 


Luchu, 460, 464 
, African — 

Amharic, 272 

Bogos, 276 

Galla, 271 

Ganda (Luganda), 283-84 

Kabyli, 250 

Nyika, 282 

Riff, 251 

Swahali, 278-79, 280-81 

Tigre, 270 

Yao, 282 
, presented by Prince Louis Lucien 

Bonaparte, 352K 
, Roman Catholic — Italy, 87 ; France, 

136; Syria, 256; Belgium, 287 ; Spain, 




Versions, Vulgate, need for, 63, 196, 296 
Victoria, Queen, gift from, 5 
Victoria Nyanza, discovered by Speke, 

Wade, Rev. T. R., Kashmiri version, 

Wakelin, Mr W. P., Accountant, 28 
Waldegrave, Bishop, 4, 65 
Wales, Prince of, new Bible House, 3-5 ; 

in India, 385 
Wales, standard version — Cambrian 

Societies, 42 ; Anglesea and London, 

44 ; two divisions, 49 ; expansion — 

Carnarvon Auxiliary — amongthe hills — 

Merioneth — Cambrian Societies, 55-56 
Ward, MrE. M.,R.A., picture of Luther, 

Watt, Mr James, agent, 153, 342, 346 
Weakley, Rev. R. H. — Smyrna, 235 ; 

Sweden, 336 ; Egypt, 265 
Weitbrecht, Rev. H. U., Panjab 

Auxiliary, 402 
Wenger, Rev. John, Bengali and Sanskrit 

versions, 389-90 
Westminster Auxiliary, 43 
Westphal, Major — see Prussia 
Whately, Archbishop, 59 
Wheeler, Rev. R. F., District-secretary, 


William I., of Prussia, 5, 95 ; Kaiser, 

I17«, 152 
Wilson, Bishop, Calcutta, 380 

, Dr, Bombay Auxiliary, 407-8 

, Susan, of Ulpha, oldest collector, 54 

Wingfield, Mr G., District-secretary, 37 
Wiseman, Mr S. , District-secretary, 52-53 
Witchampton, Bible Day— the Golden 

Tree, 39 
Withdrawal from Protestant countries, 

31, 337-39 
Wright, Rev. Dr W., Editorial Super- 
intendent, 27-28, 256 
Wriothesley, Rev. Lord, 4 
Wylie, Mr Alexander, agent in China, 
436, 438, 441-44. 447-48 

, Mr Macleod, Calcutta Auxiliary, 


Xavier, Francis, mission to Japan, 

Yezidis, so-called Devil - worshippers, 

Yorkshire, 48 ; children's contributions, 


Zanzibar, Bishop Steere — work and 
death, 278-81 ; survey of East Africa 
— Bishop Smythies, 281-82 

Zillerthal revisited, 194 


This Label must on no account be detached from this bool(, 
neither may the figures thereon be altered. 




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